Raytheon revamps Sarcos exoskeleton, creates better, faster and stronger XOS 2 (video)

When we first laid eyes on the Sarcos XOS military exoskeleton three years ago, its sheer power and dexterity left us in awe... but as you can see immediately above, that wasn't enough for Raytheon. Today, the defense contractor's unveiling the XOS 2, a lighter, stronger robotic suit that uses 50 percent less power for dropping and giving us several hundred pushups. Video and a press release after the break don't specify the suit's military duties (they're focused on instilling the notion that the XOS 2 is a real-life Iron Man) but we can definitely imagine these causing some serious damage if Hammer Industries decided to weaponize that high-pressure hydraulic frame.

Update: We previously stated that the suit didn't need to be tethered to a power source for operation, but that information was incorrect.

[Thanks, SmoothMarx]

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Raytheon unveils lighter, faster, stronger second generation exoskeleton robotic suit

Unveiling coincides with release of Marvel Studios' Iron Man 2 on Blu-ray and DVD

TEWSKBURY, Mass., (Sept. 27, 2010) – Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) unveiled its second generation Exoskeleton (XOS 2) at its research facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, during a demonstration with Paramount Home Entertainment. The new robotic suit is lighter, faster and stronger than its predecessor, yet it uses 50 percent less power. Its enhanced design also means that it is more resistant to the environment.

"XOS 1 was essentially a proof of concept," said Dr. Fraser M. Smith, vice president of operations for Raytheon Sarcos. "With XOS 2, we targeted power consumption and looked for ways to use the hydraulic energy more efficiently. That's resulted in us being able to add capabilities while significantly reducing power consumption."

Raytheon is developing the robotic suit to help with the many logistics challenges faced by the military both in and out of theater. Repetitive heavy lifting can lead to injuries, orthopedic injuries in particular. The XOS 2 does the lifting for its operator, reducing both strain and exertion. It also does the work faster. One operator in an exoskeleton suit can do the work of two to three soldiers. Deploying exoskeletons would allow military personnel to be reassigned to more strategic tasks.

The suit is built from a combination of structures, sensors, actuators and controllers, and it is powered by high pressure hydraulics. It enables its wearer to easily lift 200 pounds several hundred times without tiring and repeatedly punch through three inches of wood. Yet, the suit, which was developed for the U.S. Army, is also agile and graceful enough to let its wearer kick a soccer ball, punch a speed bag or climb stairs and ramps with ease.

"Getting exoskeletons deployed is inevitable in my view," said Smith. "They are desperately needed, and I believe the military looks at them as viable solutions to a number of current issues they are trying to address. With a sustained commitment, they could be in place within five years."

Raytheon's Exoskeleton has been called the real "Iron Man" suit because of its ability to enhance the wearer's strength and endurance in a way that is reminiscent of Tony Stark's high-tech suit in the films. The XOS 2 was unveiled to coincide with September 28th release of Iron Man 2 on Blu-ray and DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Raytheon Company, with 2009 sales of $25 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 88 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 75,000 people worldwide.