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What DARPA’s Wearable Tech Suit Could Mean for Soldiers and Civilians

Experts say the suit will minimize soldier injuries from fatigue and could be used someday to assist those with limited mobility.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is moving forward with plans to develop a lightweight exoskeleton suit that could have far-reaching effects beyond the battlefield.

DARPA's Warrior Web program is extending an ongoing partnership with Harvard University faculty to demonstrate a proof of concept for a “radically new approach to wearable robot design and fabrication,” the institute announced last month.

A team of faculty members at Harvard’s Wyss Institute will receive up to $2.9 million from the DARPA program, based on their ability to meet a series of technical milestones, according to the institute. (View a complete list of team members and collaborators here)

“The Warrior Web program’s ultimate goal is a lightweight, conformal under-suit that is functionally transparent to the user — similar to a diver’s wetsuit,” according to the Defense Department’s Armed with Science blog.

“The current Wyss Institute suit is made of soft, functional textiles woven into a piece of smart clothing that is pulled on like a pair of pants and intended to be worn under a soldier’s regular gear” and help protect parts of the body that are prone to injury, the blog noted.

Wyss Institute core faculty member Conor Walsh envisions alternative forms of the suit eventually being used to assist people with limited mobility, first responders and those doing athletic activities.

“The potential is really just enormous,” Walsh said in a video interview. Check out the video below to learn more about the capabilities of this wearable tech suit.

ChrisSuperseal/thinkstock
Oct 01 2014

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