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back to article Lockheed offers ready-to-go supersoldier exoskeleton

US weaponry globocorp Lockheed is pleased to announce the unveiling of its newly-acquired powered exoskeleton intended to confer superhuman strength and endurance upon US soldiers. Needless to say, corporate promo vid of the Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC™) is available: The exoskeleton is based on a design from Berkeley …

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Pirate

Finally

Something new for the BOFH wishlist. put me down for 2 with the generator option, i'll wear the first, the second will be hooked wirelessly to obey every command from suit 1.

Now let's see them complain about that damn printer.

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Unhappy

Not quite Farcry

I was expecting a Farcry style multi option all singing all dancing exoskeletal suit. Not just a bit of lego and meccano!!

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Looks nice, but...

They really need to increase the size of the battery.

Sure, it may help carry the load if the battery runs out of juice, but, then you're talking about STATIC load-carrying mostly. Try moving uphill with those 200lbs on your back...

Frankly, I'd be scared of even bending a knee if I wore that suit (and 200lbs) if the batteries ran out.

Of course, I'm a wimp, so I only carry 25lbs on my back when I go traipsing through difficult terrain...

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Heart

Now, what I'm wondering...

Is how long it'll be before Japan makes porn of it.

It's been done already with the BigDog system. Drunk french maids kicking it over and laughing, a naked anthropomorphized version crying as it walked over rubble... The works.

Oh, Japan.

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Boffin

When is the Sports Version coming out?

Lockheed track record indicates it is too stupid to pursue the commercial Sports Market with this thing, but that's where the real money is to be made. The major issue with this for military use is that its probably too easy to get damaged by bullets & shrapnel, and probably ridiculously expensive to attempt to harden it against those things. The Sports market (e.g. back packing) just requires it be immune to dirt & mud, and the market is larger.

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Silver badge
Happy

Just needs repulsors and some hotrod red 'n' gold...

Oh, and the jetboots!

Still, very impressive, and a boon to squaddies having to walk long distances with heavy loads in places like Afghanistan. I'm assuming Lewis will soon be moaning about the UK equivalent, built at sixteen times the unit cost by some BAe subcompany?

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@hosehead

Kicking it over? Did they SEE the movie of BigDog? The damn thing's more stable than most actors in movies...

Anyway, this looks almost practical. If it can help lower or remove fall damage and improve your jumping ability as well as increasing load capacity then that'd be absolutely fantastic.

Next phase has to be allowing a higher peak speed (running on JP-8)/running/jumping/falling stuff. Then train the users in Parkour and you could have some seriously impressive urban warfare soldiers.

Saying that, if they were running with 200lbs of weight, jumped and tried to grab hold of a ledge they'd pull their arms off.

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Coat

The British Version?

Will have a walnut dashboard and Lucas electrics....Don't buy one if it was made on a Friday.

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Silver badge

Does this mean

Flabby soldiers would not need to train anymore (is it sponsored by McDonalds, perhaps)

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Anonymous Coward

Cool

So its strong enough to carry all the batteries it will need to keep it going?

Still its nearly there i reckon a few more billion and we'll might have something like in that centurions cartoon i watched as a kid.

Of course by then we will have cybernetics grafted onto our limbs to keep pace in arms race against the machines.

I say the cold war has started, the warm wet one will probably be only just around the corner.

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Silver badge

How do I log in to it remotely?

As soon as someone can hack into the system you can watch a whole platoon of septics doing the Hokey-Cokey.

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@ M. Burns

No....

It's not suited for backpackers, either.

When was the last time you went on a 1Hour trip with a large backpack?

And even if they added more batteries, can you be certain that there's a chance of recharging at the destination?

The only ones I could think of who could use these, in any 'outdoors' capacity here in Norway would be the people maintaining the cabins belonging to the local Trekking association as the goods must now often be freighted up using skidoos during winter.

(Many cabins are within one or two hours' range from 'civilisation' )

If the US Army want their soldiers to carry heavy backpacks over long distances, why not issue them pairs of hiking staves?

(Probably not expensive enough... )

Mine's the one of GoreTex and with a GPS in the pocket

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@AC

What can I say, other than "Oh, Japan" again? IIRC, the BigDog in the image was crying too, and I'm pretty sure machines can't do that. Yet. (In case it wasn't clear, these were just drawings, not real life.)

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Stop

2 things...

1. yipee lets continue to spend billions on technology designed for the sole purpose of facilitating the killing of others more efficiently, while billions of people are destitute. what wise thinking NOT.

2. i can just see what'll happen next... bring out those big old electromagnets, turn on and stand back... hehehe.

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Go

How about the old and infirm?

Stuff the sports market and military.

Can you imagine grandpa running around at 10mph instead of creeping over the crossing with his walker!!!

Or the number of people with weak hearts that could move around freely again?

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Coat

Nice to see the spammers' copywriters getting a new gig

although possibly they need to write some new material, rather than just recycling the old stuff about how a product "augments strength, ability and endurance" and allows one to "hump 200lb with relative ease".

Mine's the one with the mothers-in-law jokebook in the pocket

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Coat

loud

In the video, the exoskeleton seems to be playing music constantly. I think that would P*ss me off after a while.

Also, my mates watch cost 200 pounds and I'm pretty sure I could carry that unaided.

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Retirement

I look forward to the use of one of these during my twilight years. Useful for gardening, DIY and defending myself from the large packs of feral youths that will be roaming the countryside by that time (according to the latest Conservative Party funded study).

That'll show them what a real horror show's all about!

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build a better soldier, and they'll weigh him down again.

"With our enhancements to the HULC system, Soldiers will be able to carry loads up to 200 pounds with minimal effort," according to Lockheed's Rich Russell.

Until his battery runs out or his rig gets broken.

What happens if this rig goes down while in use?

this is a dumb idea for combat troops. most will ditch theirs and carry a minimal load.

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Silver badge

Fly!

With a decent shoulder turret, maybe the grunt could learn to fly (recoil and such).

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Donkey Kong

Why not use a mule to carry all that 200lbs of stuff?

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Paris Hilton

Getting a leg up

This would be better targetted at carers, porters, hod-carriers and housebuilders than squaddies who are just going to break it anyhow (speaking as a former Navy man). Older people with a long-term need to lift heavy things or people could perhaps benefit more than the US Army, who are jolly good at heavy weights anyway. This could have been very useful when I had to carry hundreds of sheets of plasterboard and plywood up steps recently, for example.

Not to mention getting home from the pub some nights - "turning rubber back into steel", that's what we need. Paris too.

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I'll have one

if there's a groinal attachment and I can get radio by adjusting my nipple nuts

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Reminds me of Watchmen

"First time I tried it I broke my arm"

"Wow, seems like the kind of costume that could really screw you up"

"Is there any other kind?"

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Coat

"Custom attachments"...

...frickin' lasers? We can but hope. Alternatively, how about a gadget to intimidate and oppress nations of little brown people who worship a slightly different imaginary friend?

The other thing that comes to my paranoid, suspicious and deeply cynical mind is: failure modes. What happens when the thing gets hit with a rifle round (or nearby explosive detonation)? Presumably if you put a hole in the hydraulics it sprays high-pressure clutch fluid in a powerful jet, either transferring the hapless grunt into an air-mobile configuration or simply crushing them like a roach beneath a suddenly unsupported 200kg hyper-Bergen.

Mine's the one with the oil stain on the floor under the coathook...

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What it needs....

What it needs is some way to attach a pair of PoweriZers.

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Stop

Re: Sillyfellow

Ok sillyfellow - glad you got your name right at least.

1) I hope you remember your desire for no new military hardware when you get called up for a war and have to fight with kit that isn't better than the oppositions. That's the way you end up with 10 million dead people like the Russians in WW2. And don't think wars won't happen - one of the best ways to stay out of big wars is for everyone else to know that you can kick their ass - it worked very well for the British Empire for over 100 years - and only when everyone found that they could actually win against the British Army did the situation change.

2) Ok - ridiculous idea. Do you get all your ideas from Wile E. Coyote cartoons? How much magnetic metal do you think a soldier carries now? What do you think guns are made from? If it was that easy to stop something metal don't you think the American military budget would have already started using electromagnets.

Muppet. That is all.

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Gold badge
Joke

Great for coffin dodgers

But at 53lbs without batteries I'm not sure any of them could lift it.

Of course it would to need to have some optional extras. Panic button to tell nurse where you've wondered off to and a remote return-to-base mode so a confused CD whos forgotten their meds can be bought straight to the dosing station.

A boon for any granny farmer and their £2k+/ week maximum security twilight wing.

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Anonymous Coward

@Sillyfellow

Yes, clearly our choices are binary - either develop technology for the army, or feed the world's poor. One or the other. And goodness knows military technology has never been used for other purposes.

Also, you might want to look up the inverse square law while you're brushing up on history. You might not look so silly next time.

Hehehe.

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cool!

I want to see some armor on there! Dragon skin is heavy...

Mines the one with 117 scratched on the side...

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@ Donkey Kong?

"Why not use a mule to carry all that 200lbs of stuff?"

We've got that covered too.

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/products/mule/index.html

-Lockheed MFC employee

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Coat

four pounds...

... of lithium polymer batteries. Wow - that's pretty cheap. I wonder what they weigh.

Mine's the one with the imperial to metric converter in the pocket.

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Coat

Forklift of the future

Pretty obvious this thing is being developed to provide the capability to fight alien queens. Where's Ripley when you need her?

Mine's the one with twin shoulder strobes.

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Anonymous Coward

Title

You could run them on organic ethanol fuel cells.

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Jan
Bronze badge
Coat

Name shifting

Ok, powered exoskeleton is a precise description, but I liked it when these things were called Waldos.

Mine's the stealth Waldo with the in-pocket fusion generator.

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Future of combat

Slap a hundred pounds of dragonskin armor on there, plus a minigun, and you've got a soldier that can mow down any opposition smaller than a tank.

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Alien

Hold on a minute

Is it A,

Leader A has decided that he's pissed off with the amount of power Leader B has, so Leader A demands that because you were born on the same arbitrary piece of land as he, you must now go and kill someone you've never met who happened to be born on a similar arbitrary piece of land 'belonging' to Leader B. If you refuse, you will be shot or imprisoned.

Or B,

War is a 'necessary evil' that helps us keep the population down?

In my opinion, If there be any advances in the art of warfare, it should be the increased efficiency of clinical strikes for capturing either Leader A or B and in so doing, ending the war and pointless loss of life that accompanies it. Presumably nowhere near as lucrative for Leader A/B & Lockheed Martin Et Al.

Alien, 'cos hopefully they're scratching their heads over this war nonsense too.

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Happy

When they perfect it...

They can use it to make a decent version of "Starship Troopers".

(Global warming is caused by RH spinning in his grave from the last version!!)

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Coat

No one made the obvious joke?

HULC SMASH!!!!

(I'll get my coat)

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NB
Happy

sweet

another step close to that battlemech I've always wanted. Just a few more years to go...

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Gold badge
Joke

LS3 by a mile. Because

you don't mess with the BigDog. The BigDog is always right.

With apologies to Tommy Lee Jones

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@ Ian Emery

"They can use it to make a decent version of "Starship Troopers".

(Global warming is caused by RH spinning in his grave from the last version!!)"

He started spinning when they made the first one, and by the time they'd completed the "trilogy" (Dear God, have you SEEN them??? HAVE YOU?? The shame! The pain!) he was rotating fast enough to solve the world's energy crisis for the next thousand years.

<- Mine's the one with the dog-eared copy of Stranger in a Strange Land in the pocket.

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@Nìall Tracey

Was thinking of those when I was reading this.

When they add a jetpack I'll take one, would make getting to work easy (but needs a 5 mile range)

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Coat

RE: Starship Troopers

That's what I immediately thought of as well. I saw the first one - Mmm Denise Richards - but that was it. Didn't know about #2 or #3 until recently. From all accounts they make #1 look like Citizen Kane.

Now they need to make them smaller and form-fitting like in John Varley's _Blue Champagne_.

Mine's the powered one...

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Alien

More sensible use

Why not make something like this for construction workers?

The other day I saw a TV report on tube construction. The sleepers had to be laid by hand in the narrow tunnel, using a lot of strength and rather low-tech tools. I thought then those workers would really benefit from some biomech augmentation. Battery life would not even be a problem as there would be mains power available. There are probably a lot more practical applications in the heavy industries where man's hand-eye coordination and flexibility could be augmented by a bit of mech power.

Seems a lot easier to build and a lot more sensible than aug-soldiers.

Anyone remember those forklift-mecha-suits from Alien 2?

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Anonymous Coward

@NB

How about this flamethrowing battlemech?

http://www.igda.org/Forums/showthread.php?threadid=17159

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Paris Hilton

Built for Spec Ops...

I doubt the standard grunt will use this but i can see speical forces like the SAS using this. Get a six man team, give them half a ton of explosives and enough ammo to lay waste to an army, use the HULC's to get their payloads "in theater" or whatever the vernacular is, and watch them flatten a city :)

Or give them a million copies of "Random Bloke does Paris 4" and win hearts and minds by some good old imperialist propaganda :)

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Better than the bendy bus

How about a 20mph version for the daily London commute

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Paris Hilton

it's a strap-on dude

53lbs without batteries ? Thats probably the equivalent of having Paris strapped on to you.

Of course I would want an exo-Paris on the front side of me, and NO I was not thinking about the pervy angle that you just thought of.

The device would also camoflague me in battle also. Imagine our enemies faced with a batallion of exo-divas (exo-KatePerry - heavy loader; exo-Rihanna; exo-SJohhansen).

Methinks we might get p*ssed off with the complaining after a while.

BTW, Lewis keep fragging the BAe evil empire - we appreciate your good work !

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Go

Fly?

Never mind the military, could the technology be used to make ornithopters?

Icarus here I come!

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