Navy to test Lockheed Martin exoskeleton technology

Lockheed Martin has received a contract for the U.S. Navy to evaluate and test human exoskeleton technology, which is basically a framework worn over clothing that is designed to help with heavy lifting.

Specifically, the Navy is testing two Fortis exoskeletons, which are designed for industrial use. Lockheed has been developing exoskeleton technology for five years, including military designs. The Navy contract is the first for Lockheed Martin’s industrial use exoskeletons.

Lockheed describes the Fortis exoskeleton as an unpowered, lightweight system that increases an operator’s strength and endurance by transferring the weight of heavy loads from the user’s body directly to the ground.

“Ship maintenance often requires use of heavy tools, such as grinders, riveters or sandblasters,” said Adam Miller, director of new initiatives at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “By wearing the Fortis exoskeleton, operators can hold the weight of those heavy tools for extended periods of time with reduced fatigue.”

The contract is through the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

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