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Introduction Exoskeleton technology is a material handling ergonomic strategy aimed at transforming the United States military personnel to be more efficient.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction Exoskeleton technology is a material handling ergonomic strategy aimed at transforming the United States military personnel to be more efficient."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction Exoskeleton technology is a material handling ergonomic strategy aimed at transforming the United States military personnel to be more efficient and secure in their operations. Throughout active duty, military troops must carry hefty payloads and participate in high-risk combat, which consequently causes physical impairments, such as Musculoskeletal Disorder, (MSD) fatigue, and traumatic brain injury (TBI) that all need to be treated with intense rehabilitation practices. In recent years, The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has funded multiple projects concerning exoskeleton suits to alleviate this problem. In particular The University of California, Berkeley’s Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton (BLEEX) attempts to solve transportation of cumbersome loads, Harvard’s Soft Exosuit endeavors to alleviate long term physical disorders, and Ekso Bionics’ eLEGS exoskeleton tries to aid in the recovery lower-extremity- disabled troops. Even though these exoskeletons have the potential to sustain military personnel, the use of such technology may not be fully sustainable due to fuel source controversies and its limitations as a possibility for rehab. The investigation as to the validity of applying various exoskeletons as a way to make military personnel more organized and viable in their service to the United States will be demonstrated. AUGMENTING UNITED STATES MILITARY EFFICIENCY THROUGH EXOSKELETON TECHNOLOGY Mental and Physical Problems Faced In Military Operations Mental and physical strains are a growing concern in the military as copious amounts of personnel have claimed to have some impairment in the field. Fatigue is one issue that over 55% of military personnel agreed was a hindrance in their units. 39% of all operation affiliated injuries were categorized as lower extremity injuries due to overuse and strain. These injuries tend to lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). The military was found to have the highest incidents of MSD in workers among all work forces. For those inhibited by physical impairments due to war impairments recovery and adapting their disability become a priority for their reintegration into the workforce. By: Sydney Dydiw and Harrison Lawson Exoskeletons Give Rise to Debate over Power Source Sustainability The fuel source behind powered exoskeletons brings up issues of sustainability. The exoskeletons built by Ekso Bionics are powered by lithium batteries, which require special recycling. The lithium batteries are not substances that can be thrown in the trash and should be recycled in large quantities to be reused for new product creation. They are also not practical because they are not a sufficient power source for the typical length of time that exoskeletons are worn. Regular refueling also adds another complication: what if the fuel source goes low when the soldier is in battle and under enemy fire? To combat this recycling and possible life-threatening issue, Protonex Technology Corporation (PTC) is developing fuel cells to provide three plus days of power for the exoskeletons, which is the military- determined necessary minimum for cell life. Fuel cells theoretically never decompose and therefore can be reused endlessly with continuous recharging, making exoskeletons more durable and sustainable for future use. They also are more secure in their infrastructure and provide more energy at a given time than lithium batteries. However, fuel cells are not cost-effective unless mass produced, so until large amounts of soldiers are wearing exoskeletons, they will be an expensive part to this technology. Allows troops to exceed their normal physical limitations. Unique features intended to be more user-friendly and sustainable. BLEEX has a pseudo-anthropomorphic architecture that includes seven degrees of freedom. This exoskeletons motion is produced by small actuators and motors that allow the user to expend less energy while working. BLEEX has multiple sensors and a tiny on board computer that runs algorithms that allow soldiers to have a natural and power enhancing experience. The control system of the suit can be run for more than 20 hours and can sustain a load of45 Kilograms. BLEEX is comparable to a military land rover as it allows personnel to haul heavy supplies over any terrain allowing them to maintain there energy and stamina for mission If the suit were to run out of fuel its legs can be removed and used as a storage backpack for supplies This suit will allow the military to be become more efficient in their operations while, at the same time, allowing valuable personnel to sustain their physical health BLEEX Mechanics Aid Personnel Harvard Wyss Institute Exosuit Wearable and low-powered lower extremity exoskeleton. Does not have rigid parts that limit movement nor uses a considerable amount of energy while in practice. Made of webbed rip-stop nylon and can be worn like a pair of pants The suit is able to provide forces on the body that allow the user to expend less energy and it reduces the physical strain on their body, via the actuation system. The suit’s design allows it be invisible to the user and it perfect for static and dynamic working environments. It has various areas in which it can be applied to in military operation Help with personnel fatigue and to help inhibit MSD onset. Suits can weigh between 1.07kg and 10kg. Overall the suit is great for reducing strains on the body that could cause chronic impairment and allowing soldiers to maintain their energy and physical health. EKSO eLEGS Currently the only commercialized exoskeleton for rehabilitation purposes. Ekso eLEGS is designed in exactly the same fashion as the BLEEX system with minor adjustments to make it more evasive and useful in a day-to-day and rehabilitation environments. Mainly for paraplegics and rehabilitation, so the design and functionality of the suit is designed around providing stability and overall physical support. With assistive crutches, eLEGS allows the user to support themselves as they shift their weight while walking, making it an ideal assistive device for home and rehab. For temporarily disabled soldiers, this technology is ideal for rehabilitation Heal faster and better with this technology and get back into action sooner. By sustaining valued personnel, who had been previously injured, the military can reduce the money needed for training new personnel and continue to make their current operations more efficient. Conclusion Since its conception, exoskeleton technology in general has been improved and researched by numerous teams of engineers around the globe in order to better the welfare of the wearer. Now in the twenty-first century, this innovative technology can be applied to the military in order to transform their personnel into productive and more sustainable cogs in the military machine. Military personnel’s exoskeleton suits diminish the physical exertion and mental strain on troops in order to generate soldiers with an amplified durability and who can now perform tasks that cause less exertion when wearing these suits as opposed to doing the operations without exoskeletons. As a result of understanding material handling ergonomics, the application of lower extremity exoskeletons can serve as a way to make military personnel more efficient in its operations, both in combat and rehabilitation, is valid in its capacity to lower healthcare costs, decrease time expenses, and increase the strength of personnel. Exoskeleton technology does not come without its downfalls, especially with its fuel source longevity and shortcomings in long term use, but ultimately poses a valid solution to make U.S. military operations more efficient and military personnel more sustainable in their human endurance during duty.


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