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back to article Battle of the US super-soldier robot suits hots up with XOS 2.0

Two rival firms in the USA are vying to develop military exoskeletons - powerful motorised robotic suits intended to endow soldiers of the future with superhuman strength and other abilities. The XOS inventors from Utah, generally seen as running second to California's HULC*, have now rolled out a new "second generation" version …

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Alert

Exploding batteries

"And frankly, to a soldier who will routinely be carrying not just flares but grenades, ammo, handheld rockets etc, the danger from exploding or burning li-ion batteries might not seem a big deal."

Personally I think an exploding power supply would be a MAJOR deal when carrying around those items!

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COOL!

Want one.

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Happy

Forklift replacement?

Probably not a forklift replacement. Forklifts work pretty well, they can hoist a couple of tonnes much higher than a guy in a suit can and can move pallets further and faster than a guy in a suit.

Balancing 2 tonnes at arms length might be an issue for the suit wearer even if they could lift it.

Electric battery powered forklifts are well established and don't often explode an an actinic flash.

This might be usable for lighter (still heavy) loads that don't come on pallets, like shells and missiles.

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indeed

artillery loading. MLRS loading. Front line stuff where the ground isnt flat enough for forklifts. This wouldnt be a problem for trailing cables.

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Flame

The safer option?

Because carrying a gallon of gasoline on your back in a combat situation is oh so much safer.

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How about diesel?

Are small, diesel fueled engines suitable?

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FAIL

Actually...

You'd be surprised how hard it is to set fire to petrol, and especially diesel. Shoot a car in the petrol tank and it makes a hole, hollywood explosions notwithstanding. Shoot a l-ion battery and it is almost guaranteed to go bang. That's the difference.

Petrol is volatile when it's in a gaseous form, but in a liquid form it's relatively non-volatile. That's one of the reasons it's so great as a fuel, as it can be stored in a relatively safe form that has a very high energy density. As long as the future exoskeleton has a nice high impact non-metallic tank to sore the fuel in it'll be safer than lugging around a pack of batteries that have a not insignificant chance of spontaneously exploding.

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"Petrol is volatile when it's in a gaseous form, but in a..."

I think you need to look up the meaning of volatile

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Terminator

I for one...

...welcome our Mecha-Cyber-Overlords.

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Puissant

Just wanted to see that once again. It *had* to be a Lewis post!

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Anonymous Coward

Pffffft!

Using French for effect is just so passé

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Joke

Software sheet.

Drones bitter.

Snot my burd.

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Terminator

Stuxnet

Heh.

I'm gonna dust off Mechwarrior 2 tonight.

Imagine what could happen if Stuxnet got hold of these! War of the clans!

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HULC

Human Universal Load Carrier? They must have strained a bit to squeeze that one in. As if the Iron Man references weren't enough.

But what I want is a remote override for the control circuitry. Live Action Lemmings!

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Maybe suitable for combat use sooner than you think

How about a small (heavily armoured) wheeled trailer with a generator on it trailing behind?

Any terrain (ie maybe stairs) that was unsuitable for the trailer could potentially be picked up by the XOS and carried.

Add a heavy weapon such as a minigun and maybe ammo feeding from the trailer and you could have a pretty mobile heavy weapons unit with only one person.

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Boffin

Evangelion

I'm sure they considered it.

Only problem with that is if the umbilical gets cut or the trailer gets taken out by a RPG, mine, 50cal round the suit would be instant dead weight on the solder. And you can bet that the trailer becomes a primary target as soon as it come into view.

With these kinds of weapons systems it is always better to have everything in one package, saves Armour weight and reduces total target profile.

Another option might be some kind of broadcast power system like Tesla tried to do. One big mobile transmitter for a unit of XOS equipped soldiers. Of course then the transmitter becomes a primary target in any engagement but if the range was good enough it could be well back from the conflict.

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Boffin

inventor?

...I might be wrong on this, but didn't a 2000ad judge dredd story by "John Howard" (Wagner )

progs111-112 feature such a suit back in may 1979????

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Unhappy

Killing other humans

Now even more FUN!

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Anonymous Coward

Rex Jameson

A name straight out of Marvel.

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Better for civ applications

Honestly, they need to focus on the civilian applications of these objects first. Once they get them perfected to civilian standards (not too hard), they can focus on the up-armoring, mount points for gear, mobility issues, etc. Military standards are way more exacting than civilian ones, why not try to get a base market for it going then work on improvements and gain more interest that way?

Wait, that would make sense.

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Coat

Practical uses ahoy!

I can see half a dozen places where forklifts are too cumbersome, and where it doesn´t fit more than one (large) man. Believe me, this thing would have commercial use as it is now.

Suit, because, you know...

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Boffin

Too hot baby

Most engines generate waste heat, and internal combustion engines are among the worst. Assuming 5kW of useful power to the suit, you are dissipating on the order of 10kW of heat from the engine alone, with more being lost at friction points in the suit. Not only will that fry your tush, it will show up beautifully on any IR views! Hardly combat-ready.

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Loading missiles

Looks like a great way to load missiles for the Navy and Air Force if it's reliable. Could be faster, safer and require less staff potentialy. Just make sure it doesn't step on anyone's toes.

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Anonymous Coward

Nuclear battery

This kind of technology needs a reasonably sized nuclear battery that can deliver enough power to keep it going indefinitely.

Once the power problem is solved we reach a scenario like fighter jets are in today - do they really need people inside them at the controls ? They could be controlled by an operator remotely. That would open up a whole new world of warfare.

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and...

also when the guy punches thru the wood sheets they are setup in the vice with the grain horizontal ;) i'd like to see that done with the grain going vertical, lol, no chance! you couldnt even do it with a sledgehammer weilded with full force if it was setup vertical-grain

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eh??? who here has done heavy manual labour?

one slight problem tho - the artist-impression pictures show the unit being used to lift weights too heavy for a regular unassisted person to lift. well if you have a weight held in outstretched arms which is heavier than what can be supported by the vertical axis, you're gonna just topple over forwards everytime. Guess thats why those things are shown soley by artist-impression drawings.

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