As a new round of tests commence, Lockheed Martin hopes the US Army with find its HULC exoskeleton incredible.
For some reason military research projects tend to get some interesting acronyms. If it's not DARPA calling its biologiocal experiments things like BaTMAN and RoBIN, it's Lockheed Martin with a strength enhancing exoskeleton called "HULC." We first became aware of HULC just over a year ago, but Lockheed Martin announced this week it had secured a $1.1 million contract with the US Army to commence a new round of testing on the system.
If you've got visions of some kind of Iron Man style power armor, then you're going to be disappointed, as at first glance, the HULC - which stands for "Human Universal Load Carrier" - is just a backpack and a pair of leg braces. The HULC works by transferring the weight of the load down into the hydraulic leg braces, allowing the wearer to carry up to 200lbs across rough terrain with "minimal human exertion."
HULC will be assessed by researchers at the Natick Soldier Center, located in Natick, Massachusetts, to see how it affects a soldier's performance and how much energy the wearer uses while using it. It will be years before the HULC ever actually sees a battlefield, if it ever sees one at all, but those space marine suits have got to start somewhere, right?