War­rior Web helps soldiers carry heavy loads


ASol­dier car­ries a 61-pound load while walk­ing in a pro­to­type DARPA War­rior Web sys­tem dur­ing an in­de­pen­dent eval­u­a­tion by the US Army. War­rior Web seeks to cre­ate a soft, light­weight un­der-suit that would help re­duce in­juries and fa­tigue com­mon for Soldiers, who of­ten carry 100-pound loads for ex­tended pe­ri­ods over rough ter­rain. DARPA en­vi­sions War­rior Web aug­ment­ing the work of Soldiers’ own mus­cles to sig­nif­i­cantly boost en­durance, car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity and over­all warfighter ef­fec­tive­ness–all while us­ing no more than 100 W of power.

The US Army Re­search Lab­o­ra­tory Hu­man Re­search and En­gi­neer­ing Direc­torate (ARL HRED) is near­ing com­ple­tion of a five­month se­ries of tests to eval­u­ate mul­ti­ple War­rior Web pro­to­type de­vices. The test­ing eval­u­ates how each pro­to­type in­cor­po­rates dif­fer­ent tech­nolo­gies and ap­proaches to re­duce forces on the body, de­crease fa­tigue, sta­bilise joints and help Soldiers to main­tain a nat­u­ral gait un­der a heavy load. The test­ing uses a mul­ti­cam­era mo­tion-cap­ture sys­tem to de­ter­mine any changes in gait or bal­ance, a car­dio-pul­monary ex­er­cise test­ing de­vice to mea­sure oxy­gen con­sump­tion and a va­ri­ety of sen­sors to col­lect force, ac­cel­er­a­tion and mus­cle ac­tiv­ity data.

The War­rior Web pro­gramme con­sists of two re­lated pro­gramme tasks. Cur­rently un­der way, Task A seeks to de­velop a mix of core tech­nolo­gies deemed crit­i­cal for the pro­gramme’s suc­cess. Sched­uled to com­mence in fall 2013, Task B aims to de­velop and fabri­cate an in­te­grated suit that would even­tu­ally un­dergo re­al­world test­ing to eval­u­ate its per­for­mance.

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