Description: The development of a successful exoskeleton for human performance augmentation (EHPA) will require a multi-disciplinary systems approach based upon sound biomechanics, power generation and actuation systems, controls technology, and operator interfaces. The ability to integrate key components into a system that enhances performance without impeding operator mobility is essential. The purpose of this study and report are to address the issue of feasibility of building a fieldable EHPA. Previous efforts, while demonstrating progress and enhancing knowledge, have not approached the level required for a fully functional, fieldable system. It is doubtless that the technologies required for a successful exoskeleton have advanced, and some of them significantly. The question to be addressed in this report is have they advanced to the point of making a system feasible in the next three to five years? In this study, the key technologies required to successfully build an exoskeleton have been examined. The primary focus has been on the key technologies of power sources, actuators, and controls. Power sources, including internal combustion engines, fuel cells, batteries, super capacitors, and hybrid sources have been investigated and compared with respect to the exoskeleton application. Both conventional and non-conventional actuator technologies that could impact EHPA have been assessed. In addition to the current state of the art of actuators, the potential for near-term improvements using non-conventional actuators has also been addressed. Controls strategies, and their implication to the design approach, and the exoskeleton to soldier interface have also been investigated. In addition to these key subsystems and technologies, this report addresses technical concepts and issues relating to an integrated design. A recommended approach, based on the results of the study is also presented.
Date: September 28, 2000
Creator: Jansen, J.F.
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