Lockheed Martin, the global security and aerospace company, has developed a new exoskeleton device; the FORTIS Knee Stress Release Device (K-SRD). Using the company’s Dermoskeleton bionic augmentation technology, the device is a computer-controlled exoskeleton designed to counteract overstress on the lower back and legs experienced during physically demanding tasks, while also increasing mobility and load-carrying capability.

“FORTIS K-SRD features military-specification batteries that are approved for infantry use, improved control box ergonomics and faster actuators that generate more torque,” said Keith Maxwell, FORTIS program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “These system upgrades have come as a result of soldier feedback on the initial design.”

Sensors on the exoskeleton will report the soldier’s speed, direction and angle of movement to an on-board computer that drives electro-mechanical actuators at the knees. The exoskeleton will then deliver the right torque at the right time to assist knee flex and extension. Lockheed Martin has determined that these benefits will be most noticeable when ascending or descending stairs or navigating inclined surfaces.

Versions of the exoskeleton are also now available for industrial workers and first responders who have to perform strenuous tasks in difficult environments. “For any mission that combines heavy man-portable gear and climbing, FORTIS K-SRD can enhance strength and endurance,” Keith added.

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