Russia’s Skeleton in the Closet?


If you believe the Russian media, then their soldiers may soon be amped up with exoskeletons, capable of hurling boulders at enemy combatants should they run out of ammunition. Think “Iron-Man” or “Avatar” and you may have a clearer indication as to where this could be headed. According to Russia Today, “a Russian defense contractor says it will be able to mass produce mind-controlled combat exoskeletons for Russian soldiers in five years. The devices would allow the troops to run faster, jump higher and lift weights beyond human capacity.

“I think in about five years we will have a neuro-interface to control exoskeletons and prosthetics through the brain’s electric impulses,” Aleksandr Kulish, the head of the medical equipment development and manufacturing department of Russia’s United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation, told TASS news agency.

The new system could increase the wearer’s strength and endurance manyfold, allowing soldiers to make tremendous leaps, lift and throw objects they normally could not, as well as carrying up to 300 kilograms of equipment.

An exoskeleton is essentially a ‘wearable robot’, an external skeleton-like structure that follows the shape of the wearer’s body and partially encases it. It has joints and other mechanisms allowing it to repeat and strengthen the body’s natural movements.”

While its true that “exoskeletons are being developed worldwide. Apart from military use, they could have numerous civilian implementations. Medical skeletons could assist the movement of injured, disabled, or overtly obese patients, while construction workers could benefit from the ability to lift greater loads,” the usage of these types of systems are still likely years away, and its questionable if this will help or perhaps hinder a soldier in battle.

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