- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 2, 2014

U.S. Army exosuits with the ability to significantly augment a soldier’s strength and speed may be ready for prime time within two years.

Maj. Christopher Orlowski, who runs the project out of the Pentagon’s research arm, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, said Monday that prototypes coming out of the Soldier Performance and Equipment Advanced Research facility in Maryland have been promising.

“DARPA plans to test the final prototype in appropriate mission profiles under realistic loads to evaluate performance. These tests are currently planned for late 2016,” Maj. Orlowski told Defense News.

The exosuits will be able to cut the amount of exertion required by a soldier to lift a 100-pound load by 25 percent.

Mike LaFiandra, chief of the Dismounted Warrior Branch at the Army Research Laboratory, told Defense News that he likes what he is seeing.

“I’m exposed to a lot of really cool technology that not everyone gets to see. Big-picture, we’re really at an exciting time. The technological advancements that are happening … I can see 10 years or 15 years from now, this not only being a soldier device, but helping soldiers who are injured, once they get back,” he said.

The exosuit prototypes in development are part of DARPA’s Warrior Web initiative, which aims to decrease the chances of a soldier suffering acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries in the field or on deployments.

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