Warrior Web: Superman Underwear From DARPA

Warrior Web is yet another of DARPA's program workshops to explore particular ideas. In this case, DARPA is looking for a wearable suit that can help protect warfighters.

(Sketch of energy-harvesting underwear)

This solicitation will be specifically for innovative multidisciplinary research proposals in technology areas related to the mitigation of musculoskeletal injuries on modern warfighters.

The vision of the Warrior Web program, grounded in human physiology and performance, is to develop and demonstrate the technologies required to create a compliant, warfighter-wearable, quasi-passive and adaptive suit system to both reduce injuries and retain optimal warrior performance.

The Warrior Web program currently seeks the development and demonstration of technologies in five thrust areas: injury mitigation technologies; comprehensive analytical representations of biomechanical processes; quasi-passive regenerative actuation technologies; adaptive sensing and control technologies; and advancements in potential suit human-to-machine interfaces.

Science fiction fans may be thinking of the flexible armor suit from the 1966 novel Neutron Star by Larry Niven:

Like a silicone plastic, the pressure suit was soft and malleable under gentle pressures, such as walking, but instantly became rigid all over when something struck it...

I'd also mention the powered suit with trauma maintenance from the 1974 novel The Forever War by Joe Haldeman:

"The suit is set up to save as much of your body as possible. If you lose part of an arm or a leg, one of sixteen razor-sharp irises closes around your limb with the force of a hydraulic press, snipping it off neatly and sealing the suit before you can die of explosive decompression. Then "trauma maintenance" cauterizes the stump, replaces lost blood,and fills you full of happy juice and No-shock. So you will either die happy or, if your comrades go on to win the battle, eventually be carried back up to the ship's aid station."

From Warrior Web Proposersí Day Workshop via Wired.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/29/2011)

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