Has the age of super-human soldiers arrived?

Has the age of super-human soldiers arrived?

Soldiers are often weighed down by 100 pounds of gear, which pushes them to their physical limits quite quickly. DARPA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is working on a new project that might cut that weight nearly in half.

Called the Warrior Web program, DARPA's goal is to enhance soldiers' strength with technology; that is, make a super-human soldier with robotic enhancements. But don't get too excited, because these robotic enhancements won't be integrated into the human, but rather through an ultra-lightweight suit.

Warrior Web was launched in September 11 with the goal of creating a soft-lightweight suit, reinforcing the areas most prone to injury on the human body-joints, ankles, knees, hips, the lower back and shoulders.

The hope is that the suit will help reduce injuries and fatigue while improving physical limits and mission performance.

"The load is a critical issue," said Lt. Col. Joe Hitt, a program manager. "In Warrior Web, we want to explore approaches which make that kind of load [100lbs] feel, in terms of the effort to carry it, as if its weight has been cut in half."

The suit would be created to stabilize and reduce stress on the joints, but also create fluidity and ease of movements to increase mission performance.

Its sounds like a creation right out of a science fiction movie, but the suit would also allow the soldier to run at top speed for longer period of time.

"We're assessing new technologies that could even allow a soldier to run a four-minute mile," Hitt said. "For example, we have components such as motors and springs integrated into a suit which will augment the work performed by the muscles in the legs. This may be a pathway to enhancing performance."

This new suit might make Iron Man and Robocop jealous, but it's still about 20 years away from production.

Read more at the Army website.

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