DARPA Wants Exoskeletons

In a briefing today on GovExec.com, a variety of projects from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) demonstrate that some science fiction thinking is good.

DARPA thinkers are saying that maybe humans themselves need an upgrade. "The human is becoming the weakest link," DARPA warned last year in an unclassified report. "Sustaining and augmenting human performance will have significant impact on Defense missions and systems." A review of the agency's latest budget request reveals a host of projects aimed squarely at making soldiers smarter, tougher, faster, and stronger - in short, superhuman.
A very early reference to military exoskeletons (and this fact is mentioned in the reference article) is found in the 1959 novel Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. See this reference for powered suit (or powered armor). Other science fiction authors have also weighed in on the subject of exoskeletons: see also the polycarbon exo, from William Gibson's 1988 novel Mona Lisa Overdrive. More recently, Bruce Sterling wrote about them in his 1999 novel A Good Old-Fashioned Future; see the reference for exoskeleton - fighting suit. Each of these brief items have short discussions of different aspects of military exoskeletons.

See also the reference article - Defense research agency seeks to create supersoldiers - exoskeletons for human performance augmentation.

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