Army Mountain Division to Test Lockheed Martin ONYX Exoskeleton

The U.S. Army is on the lookout for technologies aimed at giving its soldiers superhuman capabilities in the conflicts to come.
Lockheed Marin ONYX exoskeleton 5 photos
Photo: Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Marin ONYX exoskeletonLockheed Marin ONYX exoskeletonLockheed Marin ONYX exoskeletonLockheed Marin ONYX exoskeleton
Aside for the TALOS exoskeleton developed by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOC), which should be entering a powered testing phase as soon as next year, the Army is a lot closer to conducting trials with another exo-suit, this time manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

Called ONYX, this suit has been designed to offer soldiers a boost in strength and endurance. According to Army Times, the 10th Mountain Division would be the first to put ONYX through its paces, starting this fall.

Sources from the Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) told Army Times that the exoskeleton tests would comprise several phases, the first concentrating on making the device fit correctly on the soldiers’ bodies.

The exoskeleton is fitted with sensors that report speed, direction, and angle of movement to an onboard computer. Based on this data, the computer decides how and when to drive the electromechanical actuators at the knees, to assist knee flexion and extension.

ONYX is essentially meant to boost leg capacity for physically demanding tasks. Lockheed Martin says it can also enable better handling and support for heavy weapons, increase the ability to traverse rough terrain with heavy load and even guide orthopedic alignment to avoid overstress and pressure injuries.

The system’s applications go, of course, beyond that of military use. When ready, ONYX would also be the perfect tool for heavy-lift workers, but also for first responders.

“Despite the variation in cost of transport difference between participants, the knee-exoskeleton consistently decreased the cost of transport of walking up an incline with a load,” said Lockheed Martin in a statement.

The other exoskeleton eyed by the military, TALOS, is a bit more complex than ONYX, being fitted with full-body armor and displays for combat awareness.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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