In August, Lockheed Martin received a contract through the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences for the U.S. Navy to evaluate and test two of its industrial exoskeletons.
The exoskeleton, called the Fortis, is a lightweight, unpowered suit that increases the wearer’s strength and endurance by transferring the weight of heavy loads from the operator to the frame of the device.
Using the suit’s Equipois zeroG arm and ergonomic design, operators can effortlessly hold objects of up to 36 pounds, which Lockheed Martin claims can reduce muscle fatigue by 300%. Though it’s not quite the killer robot suit from the movie Alien, or even robotic at all, it may one day have applications on the job, particularly for remodelers who spend hours at a time operating large tools or heavy hand-powered equipment such as grinders and blasters.
“Those tools take a toll on operators due to the tool’s weight and the tight areas where they are sometimes used,” said Adam Miller, director of new initiatives at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “By wearing the Fortis exoskeleton, operators can hold the weight of those heavy tools for extended periods of time with reduced fatigue.”