The Future of Warfare

It’s no secret to those that know me that I am a big fan of robotics and anticipate that the great strides in human health and longevity will come from this field.

This past week the country revisited the embryonic stem cell experimentation debate.  I have ethical problems with the new policy, mostly because I think the advocates are really spreading false hope among a lot of people.  Regardless of what John Edwards said a couple of years ago, people confined to wheelchairs won’t be getting up and walking anytime soon just because some scientists are now more free to play Dr Frankenstein in their basements.  Nope, I believe not much  good will come from that.

That being said, I think we will be seeing a lot more good coming from advances in robotics.  I think we will be able to effectively replicate internal organs, fluids, and even limbs a lot sooner than we can get comparable results from messing around with cloning.  Indeed, robotic body parts will have longer useful lives and be far more resilient than anything organic chefs can cook up.  Why would you want a heart that as just as good as your original heart when you can get one 5x better, or even 10x better?

Which brings me to this neat news of the day, courtesy of our friends at Lockheed Martin.  The era of the robotic-enhanced solider is upon us, with the debut of the HULC Exo-Skeleton.

New Robotic Exoskeleton Helps Soldiers Carry More Weight

exosoldierA new robotic exoskeleton developed by Lockheed Martin will help soldiers carry loads of up to 200 pounds for extended periods of time with minimal effort.

The HULC exoskeleton is self-powered and allows a soldier flexibility for upper-body lifting and fluid movement.

It transfers the weight from heavy loads to the ground through battery-powered, titanium “legs” that attach behind the soldier’s legs. An builtin micro-computer ensures the exoskeleton moves in sync with human body.

Without batteries, the exoskeleton weights 53 pounds. There are several optional attachments, including a front-loading SWAT shield, a front-loading brace for lifting heavy objects and a foldable kit to lift and carry wounded personnel.

The concept was created by Berkeley Bionics of California, and though an exclusive licensing agreement, Lockheed Martin will advance the HULC’s development.

from Fox News