Feeds

'Mad Scientist' developing powered suits for US military

Will dominate everywhere within reach of a power socket

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Powered exoskeletal suits are big right now, with the movie Iron Man all over the place. US defence tech giant Raytheon has decided to ride the ink surf, issuing some opportunistic statements and and photos of its ongoing military powered suit programme.

The Raytheon Sarcos Exoskeleton

The rogue exoskeleton, intent on

wreaking vengeance upon its fleshy creators, had

forgotten about the power-cable issue

Raytheon's Exoskeleton is actually being developed at Sarcos, a Utah company bought last December - perhaps with an eye to the Iron Man release date. On this occasion we are happy to be their compliant media puppets.

Asked to describe his work, Sarcos boss and former owner Dr Stephen Jacobsen said: "People call it different things... Sometimes they call it being a mad scientist."

Mildly worryingly, at the time of being bought by Raytheon, Jacobsen said "joining with Raytheon will help to move our technology from research and development to execution". One should note, however, that as yet the Sarcos kit is unarmed, and at present trails an inconvenient power cable. Should the Salt Lake City cops ever get into a situation with a supervillain of any kind, there will sadly be little chance of Jacobsen suiting up and bringing vigilante style super-soldier justice to their assistance.

Rex Jameson, test engineer/pilot of the XOS mechwarrior suit, can clean-and-jerk hundreds of pounds of free weights with infinite reps when clad in his powered kit. It's certainly a palate-cleansing change from Japanese exoskeletons designed to help people. The XOS is currently aimed at loading enormous cannon shells, or heaving boxes of ammo about, but it probably won't stay at this level forever. Given an independent power source, a bit of armour, perhaps an enormous gun that an unassisted soldier couldn't fire due to the recoil - now we're getting somewhere.

"As far as software engineering goes, this job is about as good as it gets," said Jameson.

Real world, however, one may note that Sarcos has had the suit under development since 2000 and it doesn't seem anywhere near ready for prime time. Also, even if the tricky problems of limb articulation can be fully solved, there are a few other little issues to be sorted out. Power, for one - this baby won't run on batteries. Then there's the matter of fitting suits to individual soldiers - potentially very expensive and time-consuming, depending how tolerant of variation the kit is.

One might also suggest that the powered armour in Heinlein's classic Starship Troopers (the book, not the film) might make a better reference than Iron Man - though regrettably not so topical.

More photos from Raytheon here. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.