Raytheon tailors 'Iron Man' suit for warfighters

U.S. soldiers soon may be suiting up in wearable robotic armor

U.S. soldiers soon may be suiting up in Raytheon Co.'s version of an "Iron Man" wearable robotic armor that the company says will give them the ability to lift heavy objects with little effort while still allowing freedom of movement.

Raytheon's futuristic suit, known as the Exoskeleton, combines sensors, controllers and other devices that enable the person wearing the suit to easily carry a man on his back or to lift 200 pounds a hundred times in a row without tiring, according to a company news release.

The suit is "essentially a wearable robot that amplifies its wearer's strength, endurance, and agility," Raytheon said. The suit is strong but flexible enough to enable the wearer to walk, run, kick and climb normally, as one would do playing soccer or climbing stairs, the company said.

The suit is being compared with the metal armor worn by science fiction hero Iron Man in a popular film that opened in U.S. theaters last week.

The suit is being developed for the U.S. Army by the Raytheon Sarcos research facility in Utah run by scientist Stephen Jacobsen. It has been in development since 2000.

Raytheon, based in Waltham, Mass., ranks No. 6 on Washington Technology's 2007 Top 100 list of the largest federal contractors.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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