Although military technology is veering away from boots-on-the-ground fighting, the Department of Defense and the U.S. Army are still exploring innovations that lighten the load and improve a soldier’s effectiveness in the field. One of the latest developments is the Soldier Assistive Bionic Exosuit for Resupply (SABER), which could be used to significantly reduce or eliminate musculoskeletal injuries due to overuse.
Military exoskeletons have remained a widely explored and tested technology. Here is a look back at equipment designed to improve the accuracy and strength of a soldier with a firearm.
Improving A Soldier’s Accuracy With An Exoskeleton
Exeoskeletons are being developed for a range of applications. They have plenty of practical uses for rehab and mobility in the medical industry. They have been developed as occupational aids, making it easier and safer to perform heavy lifting on the job. They’ve even been made to counter the effects of low gravity for astronauts working in space. However, the greatest demand for and innovation of exoskeleton technology seems to be coming from the military.
Turn Any Soldier Into A Sniper
Exoskeletons have been developed for the defense industry to serve as body armor, lifting aids, mobility and strength enhancers, and strain reducers. Most recently, a new exoskeleton is gaining attention for its ability to improve a soldier’s shooting accuracy. Just how can an exoskeleton turn you into a crack-shot?
Precision Accuracy On The Battlefield
The Mobile Arm Exoskeleton for Firearm Arm Stabilization, or MAXFAS works by automatically steadying a soldier’s arm for more precision firing accuracy. MAXFAS delivers greater correction and stability than firearm accessories available on the commercial market today. The advanced exoskeleton actually corrects even slight natural trembling through special processing and sensor technology. Soldiers are also free to move their arms in order to change from one target to the next.
Improved Accuracy Through Mechanical Engineering
The MAXFAS has reportedly made it possible for army soldiers to hit targets at distances that exceed 300 yards. The improved accuracy comes from the exoskeleton’s network of cables and sensors that mechanically adjust the wearer’s arm into an exact position for a precision shot. Since this function requires a series of motors, the current prototype requires the shooter remain stationary, positioned below a large frame system that holds motors connected to the wearable exoskeleton. The MAXFAS mechanical engineering team at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory of Aberdeen, Maryland is working on ways to make the MAXFAS work on a free-moving soldier. A series of lightweight motors housed in a backpack and connected to the 10 ounce, carbon fiber composite exoskeleton may make that possible.
Technologies That Hit Any Target
The MAXFAS, which solves the problem of tiny, involuntary movements that can amount to major shooting inaccuracies, seems like a perfect pairing for DARPA’s new, self-steering bullets that automatically adjust their course as they speed to a target. While both technologies are still very much in the development stages, these far-future concepts could help the U.S. regain a struggling technological edge in global defense resources.
What do you think of MAXFAS and similar exoskeleton technologies?