The Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Solder Center has issued a request for information (RFI) for the Powered and Unpowered Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation During Maneuver or Logistics Support Activities project. The project is seeking companies to design and build powered or unpowered exoskeletons that could aid infantry soldiers in moving quickly on the battlefield, improve soldier performance during repetitive tasks, and assist in moving heavy loads.
Exoskeletons can be considered to be wearable robots that are capable of improving the strength, endurance, and ergonomics of soldiers – while maintaining safety and reducing the risk of physical injury while performing various activities. Research is currently underway to evaluate exoskeleton technology readiness, and the military market for user safety, comfort, ease of use, integration with user clothing and equipment, and energy efficiency.
Some of the desired technical capabilities of the Powered and Unpowered Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation During Maneuver or Logistics Support Activities project include:
- augmenting strength and productivity or reducing risk of injury during lifting, loading, unloading and transporting tasks;
- augmenting the warfighter’s performance by reducing metabolic energy during maneuvers to allow for variations of distance, speed and carried load; and
- specific warfighter tasks such as: conducting tactical movements with a carried load of 99-136 lbs (50-62 kilos); walking in a crouched posture, climbing stairs, and crawling in a confined space while wearing a fighting load of 75-90 lbs (34-41 kilos); etc.
The RFI is for market research purposes only. Submissions should have a Technology Readiness level (TRL) for exoskeletons of 5 or higher. Exoskeletons that are currently under evaluation in market settings – such as the automotive industry, other government agencies, or related applications – are highly desired.