ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - Engineering teams at the Orlando campus of Lockheed Martin are developing new Superhero technology to help soldiers go the extra mile.
Gavin Barnes, the lead engineer on the project, is taking Tony Stark’s version of an 'Iron Soldier,' a step further into reality with the team’s new exoskeleton.
“It’s a wearable robot, reveals Barnes, when I start moving, it figures out what I’m doing and then it figures out how it can do its best to help me do my job.”
The exoskeleton called “ONYX” has been a decade in the making. The suit hugs the lower body, weighs about 15 pounds and uses sensors to track lower body movements. The technology can give the user an extra boost when climbing stairs or crossing terrain.
“It’s accessible,” says Keith Maxwell the Senior Program Manager for ONYX. “It makes people feel connected to technology. You wear it, you put it on and it makes you better than you were before.”
Maxwell describes the feeling of wearing the suit as akin to getting a strong push from a gust of wind.
“Think about how if you were walking along and there was a stiff wind behind you and that difference in how it felt walking forward, reveals Maxwell, that's kind of what the device does for you.”
Future uses for the “ONYX” could give first responders, anyone doing physical labor or even physical rehab an extra push.
“What you see here is the culmination of everything we've learned to date in terms of making sure the suit is super light and has the battery power to go the distance, says Barnes, and is efficient so that it can keep the user going for as long as they need for their missions.”
The next mission for the “ONYX,” the Army. They plan to start field-testing the exoskeleton by early next year.
“When you look at the science fiction of ”IronMan,” Maxwell says, this is the real technology that's actually performing and it makes today's soldier super human.”