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Author Topic: Exoskeletons!  (Read 1815 times)

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Offline Ivory11Topic starter

Exoskeletons!
« on: December 04, 2013, 03:42:46 AM »
Robot exoskeletons, not insect ones, they are real and well, in 10-20 years, it's possible they could start to replace forklifts, which would be AWESOME!



Now, let us discuss the sheer awesomeness of exoskeletons as well as the potential military and civilian applications of such technology.


Offline Ivory11Topic starter

Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2013, 03:43:32 AM »
sorry guys i meant to post these videos with the first post.




Offline Chris Brady

Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2013, 04:27:49 PM »
The current issue with powered armour and the like is power supply.  We simply do not have the technology (at the moment) to have these things last longer than their extension cords.

Offline Ivory11Topic starter

Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2013, 08:02:12 AM »
and that reduces their awesomeness.... HOW!?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2013, 09:37:08 AM »
and that reduces their awesomeness.... HOW!?

Because carrying that stack of concrete across the warehouse would require you to drag a long 'tail' plugged into an electrical outlet?  Not to mention the possible hilarity resulting from someone accidentally unplugging it, or tripping the circuit breaker.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2013, 12:42:11 PM »
Because electricity actually degrades over distances, so the power cords, at the moment, need to be pretty hefty, or pretty short, limiting the amount of space that can travel.  It's nice to be able to move stuff around a warehouse, but not so much when you have to unplug and replug your suit every time you cross ten meters or something, because the cable is not long enough.

Worse, if they actually make a battery for it, the battery's weight would now have to be calculated into the strength of the unit, increasing power draw, which increases the size of the battery, which in turns needs more strength to lift...

I love powered armour, they're my favourite type of Superheroes (along with Batman/Nightwing/etc. types, they're equal) but we've still got a ways to go so far.

Offline didoanna

Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2013, 02:02:45 PM »
Or if the armour / suit was rechargeable, you just know someone would use, it put it back and not leave it on charge......

Offline MKz

Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2014, 10:21:19 AM »
Looks highly underdeveloped and impractical at the current stages, but sounds very promising and cool..

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2014, 04:34:21 PM »
Bear in mind, powered armour in the public eye has been kicked around since the very least 1969, ever since Robert Heinlien's Starship Troopers novel.  Rumour has it that it was that novel that gave the U.S. Military the idea that it could be done, but no evidence has been proven for or against.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2014, 05:14:59 PM »
Bear in mind, powered armour in the public eye has been kicked around since the very least 1969, ever since Robert Heinlien's Starship Troopers novel.  Rumour has it that it was that novel that gave the U.S. Military the idea that it could be done, but no evidence has been proven for or against.
That's typically the book that's the ur-example for power armor.

It typifies the space marine as well, but some examples have existed since the thirties I think.

Also if we're twenty years from simple Aliens-style exosuits, then we're fifty years away from anything close to a military combat application.

Honestly though, as awesome as I think they are in fiction, in reality they might end up snapping spines like twigs. :\
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 05:17:54 PM by Inkidu »

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2014, 07:02:51 PM »
Not just that, but increased physical strength means increased physical speed.  And if you can lift about ten tonnes, how much faster do you think the arm lifting becomes?  And the likely hood of ripping out the weaker limb out of it's socket?

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2014, 07:15:37 PM »
Not just that, but increased physical strength means increased physical speed.  And if you can lift about ten tonnes, how much faster do you think the arm lifting becomes?  And the likely hood of ripping out the weaker limb out of it's socket?

Yeah, it's that scene in Robocop when Robo bends the barrel of a gun upward while the mook holds it. Well, that looks g ood for the movies, but in real life the mook would have to be just as strong as robo-cop to withstand the torque force.

I need to re-read the book but in the opening seen of Starship Troopers (book) Johnny tries to get Dizzy out of his suit and I think he rips him in half. :|

Offline Oniya

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Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2014, 08:18:54 PM »
It wouldn't be the first time a Heinlein story had impacted later technology.  Stranger in a Strange Land introduced the concept of the waterbed.  The nickname of 'waldo' for a remote manipulator came from one of his short stories (although he said he got the idea from a 1918 Popular Mechanics.)

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2014, 08:06:13 AM »
It wouldn't be the first time a Heinlein story had impacted later technology.  Stranger in a Strange Land introduced the concept of the waterbed.  The nickname of 'waldo' for a remote manipulator came from one of his short stories (although he said he got the idea from a 1918 Popular Mechanics.)
Popular story is it was when he was confined to a hospital bed. Where he'd want something more comfortable, and there were probablyct 1918 Popular Mechanics lying around. :P :D

Another issue with exoskeletons is the range of motion. Still, I'm not actually raring to see a military application. While it would grant combat effectiveness there's still the issue of armor. You could make something that might stop an RPG or even an AP round from a .50 caliber, but what about shock?

Imagine a knight falling of a horse in full plate. It was about as fun as it sounded. :\

Offline Oniya

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Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2014, 12:02:19 PM »
Having spoken to actual knights who fall off of horses in full plate (18-gauge steel and all the appropriate under-trimmings) - yeah, what he said.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2014, 10:09:36 PM »
Ah, but here's something Power Armour could have that Knights didn't.  More padding.  Something to lessen the shock of impact.  Remember these exos are big and bulky so there's likely extra space for safety measures.

Offline didoanna

Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2014, 09:49:00 AM »
Yeah but even if they were made for the military, we all know that the contract would be placed with the worst contractor and that the exo-suits would probably not fit together properly or have two left feet or an arm missing or not be able to pick anything up.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2014, 02:36:47 PM »
Ah, but here's something Power Armour could have that Knights didn't.  More padding.  Something to lessen the shock of impact.  Remember these exos are big and bulky so there's likely extra space for safety measures.
That's not what I'm saying.

Look up hydrostatic shock.

A de-horsed knighted gets broken up, but a guy in an exosuit would be fine no contest. Now how would the exosuit take an RPG? A .50 caliber round?

Current body armor can't take either of those. Granted you could add in metal plate and kevlar weave, but what about percussive and concussive forces?


Offline Merah

Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2014, 01:37:51 AM »
Power armor doesn't have to make you a tank. All it has to do is to let you carry and shoot (manage the recoil of) a bigger gun than you otherwise would have been able. Just by doing that, it's increased your combat effectiveness. And then increased it again because you can carry X more pounds of ammo, as well... instead of a gun team needing 2-3 people to be effective, each of those individual soldiers can now be their own gun team.

It doesn't have to have armor at all. War is about carrying shit.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2014, 01:41:01 AM »
Maybe once they manage those inertia-damping things that you see on starships...

Offline Merah

Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2014, 01:53:48 AM »
Oh, and super-strength doesn't necessarily equate to increased speed. These things will have safety limits built into them obviously, and I don't imagine they'd move any faster than the person normally operating them would. The prototypes they have now already match a person's movement without injuring them.

But in any case, yes, the main limiting factor is still power source. Better batteries will equal much more effective exoskeletons.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2014, 11:14:49 AM »
Oh, and super-strength doesn't necessarily equate to increased speed. These things will have safety limits built into them obviously, and I don't imagine they'd move any faster than the person normally operating them would. The prototypes they have now already match a person's movement without injuring them.

But in any case, yes, the main limiting factor is still power source. Better batteries will equal much more effective exoskeletons.
Then it would definitely have to be armored. Let's face it you're going to present a bigger target without the ability to hunker down behind low cover or go prone, you need something or you're just going to be the target of everyone with a gun. :\

I've seen some prototypes and the range of motion is impressive, but they did not move fast. If you don't move fast you need to present a low profile, if you don't do either, you'd better have armor. :\

While it definitely does boost their strength and endurance the battlefield comes with a whole other host of issues.

Offline Merah

Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2014, 07:52:42 PM »
A minimalistic exoskeleton (like the HULC prototype, imo the best current example of what these things can do) isn't going to make you that much bigger of a target (in a literal sense anyway), and if anything you'll be able to move faster and easier than you would with a full combat load in your pack without an exoskeleton to assist you in carrying it. Try bounding (up and down sprinting) across 2 kilometers of desert with full battle rattle and a pack on, then tell me that an exoskeleton carrying that weight for you isn't in fact going to speed you up, not to mention make you a much steadier shooter (by having prevented you from getting completely winded).

These things are already getting close to being useful in combat (i.e., not more trouble than they're worth) in certain scenarios. But, despite the encouraging field tests that have gone on,  I'd give it another couple decades before we see widespread implementation of them in US line squads. They do need some more time to get more reliable, longer-lasting, easier to use, etc, etc.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2014, 08:47:58 PM »
A minimalistic exoskeleton (like the HULC prototype, imo the best current example of what these things can do) isn't going to make you that much bigger of a target (in a literal sense anyway), and if anything you'll be able to move faster and easier than you would with a full combat load in your pack without an exoskeleton to assist you in carrying it. Try bounding (up and down sprinting) across 2 kilometers of desert with full battle rattle and a pack on, then tell me that an exoskeleton carrying that weight for you isn't in fact going to speed you up, not to mention make you a much steadier shooter (by having prevented you from getting completely winded).

These things are already getting close to being useful in combat (i.e., not more trouble than they're worth) in certain scenarios. But, despite the encouraging field tests that have gone on,  I'd give it another couple decades before we see widespread implementation of them in US line squads. They do need some more time to get more reliable, longer-lasting, easier to use, etc, etc.

I think we might see combat-ready jetpacks for terrain navigation before we see combat ready exosuits.

Just idly musing. :)

Offline BlackNight897

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Re: Exoskeletons!
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2014, 06:13:49 AM »
I wonder if with all the emphasis on strength being externally created from suit mechanisms that take a cue from our own nervous system, maybe would be plausible for the suit to enhance us in other ways:

Our muscles contract by the application of electrical impulses; perhaps the focus should be on enhancement or supplementation of our own brains electrical signals; being applied at key nods along the limbs.  The key factor being that the strength of the user is only enhanced marginally, but stamina and such would be considerably enhanced.  However, the muscles would require increased fuel and air to sustain this activity, and along with the increased wear and tear, the suit would require a complex suit capable of managing these tasks.  Perhaps I am straying into the realm or augmentation or bionics.  It has been shown that a low level charge can significantly speed up the brains processing and reaction times – perhaps the suit can have different modes, for different tasks, one for mental enhancement, and one for physical enhancement for example.  Perhaps these power demands would be more realistic with regards the technology available, charging can be via solar, and as a last resort a manual device driving a dynamo.

Imagine a suit that forms a carbon fibre chassis, with dampers build into key areas such as knees, ankles and neck, with a gyros scope coupled to a ‘tail’ (works for cats lol).  Pretty sure you would not need a rope to egress a chopper or second story.  Not superman. but enough of an edge to make a difference. 

As for the earlier power lead option, perhaps a system similar to overhead power lines employed by bouncy cars would overcome (or by induction through building floor).  Sorry if I have repeated anyone else’s thoughts.