AI to augment soldier's strength, endurance via new exoskeleton contract with Lockheed Martin
ORLANDO, Fla. Officials at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) selected Lockheed Martin to enhance the ONYX exoskeleton for future soldier demonstrations under a new contract valued at $6.9 million.
Under the two-year, sole-source agreement, Lockheed Martin will optimize ONYX components. The improvements will be evaluated by the University of Florida in advance of NSRDEC soldier demonstrations scheduled for 2019. ONYX is a powered, lower-body exoskeleton with artificial intelligence (AI) technology that augments human strength and endurance.
Developed by Lockheed Martin through a license from B-TEMIA, ONYX counteracts overstress on the lower back and legs. Using electro-mechanical knee actuators, a suite of sensors, and an AI computer, ONYX learns user movements and delivers the right torque at the right time to assist with walking up steep inclines, lifting or dragging heavy loads.
An independent study by the University of Michigan confirmed these benefits by showing how ONYX users exerted less energy while walking up an incline with a 40-pound backpack, Lockheed Martin reports.