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October 28, 2010

Upgraded Lockheed HULC Exoskeleton and Panasonic Powerloader Lite Exoskeleton

1. Lockheed Martin recently began laboratory testing of an improved next-generation design of its HULC advanced robotic exoskeleton.

The ruggedized HULC (Human Universal Load Carrier) system incorporates multiple design changes to increase reliability and performance in operational environments. New environmental sealing and packaging give the system’s electronics increased protection from natural elements and battlefield hazards. Lockheed Martin also leveraged commonly-used, military-standard rechargeable batteries to increase operational run time.

The testing now under way will validate the ruggedized system’s capabilities and reliability in a variety of simulated battlefield conditions.

Lockheed Martin further refined the HULC’s form and fit, allowing the operator to adapt to the exoskeleton in less time. The ruggedized structure allows for rapid, repeatable adjustments to the torso and thigh length, without special tools, to better suit a wider variety of users. It also conforms to the body and incorporates lumbar padding for comfort and support. Additionally, the upgraded HULC features improved control software to better track the user’s movements.





• Lift Height: Cargo lifted to individual Soldier’s height
• Payload: Up to 150lb; carries front loads
• Multiple end-effectors enable lifting of various load types
• Fits Warfighters’ height range of 5’4” to 6’2”

It can also help wearers run and move faster (or maintain a faster pace) with less exertion.

2. The Panasonic Power Loader Light is a "power amplifier" that increases the leg strength of the wearer by up to 40kg (88lbs). Industrial lifting is of course one practical solution, but Activelink points out that in Japan's rapidly aging society, there will be a great need for such robotic power-assistance technology.

The aluminum-alloy frame of the Power Loader Light tips the scales at 38kg (84lbs) which, while still a little on the heavy side, is still far less than the original Power Loader that weighed in at a hefty 230kg (507 lbs)

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