Lockheed Martin will update components of a company-developed exoskeleton for use in U.S. Army demonstrations under a two-year, $6.9M contract from the military branch’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.
The University of Florida will evaluate Onyx updates ahead of soldier demonstrations that NSRDEC plans to conduct next year, Lockheed said Thursday.
The exoskeleton uses an electro-mechanical sensory and actuation system powered by artificial intelligence technology to help augment the wearer’s physical strength and stamina.
Keith Maxwell, program manager for exoskeleton technologies at Lockheed’s missiles and fire control business, said that Onyx has the potential to increase human performance, cut injury risk and reduce fatigue in soldiers who perform physically demanding tasks.
University of Michigan researchers analyzed the effects of the suit on users’ endurance as they walked up an incline while carrying a 40-pound backpack during an independent study last year.
Onyx, which Lockheed developed through a licensing agreement with B-TEMIA, won a 2018 Grand Award from Popular Science magazine.