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NATO Integration of the Exoskeleton in the Battlefield Project

NATO Integration of the Exoskeleton in the Battlefield

The first workshop of the NATO Integration of the Exoskeleton in the Battlefield Project was held on November 14th & 15th at the Magnus Hotel in Slovakia.  This is the first of a series of workshops that will culminate in a three-day event in March 2018.

Timeline for the Integration of the Exoskeleton in the Battlefield Project:

Workshop 1: Nov 14-15, 2017

According to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Center of Excellence website, the first workshop provided  academia, industry, and military the platform to further the discussion on “Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation (EHPA).”  The primary focus was on devices that are currently available on the market, such as the Mawashi UPRISE™.  The event also included research and development updates, which were followed up by an outline for the military needs for the dismounted soldier.

Workshop 2: Feb 7th, 2018

A second workshop is going to focus on coordinating workshop organization issues, participant requirements, military scenarios, live demonstrations, and a discussion on issues related to the use of exoskeletons.

2nd Integration of the Exoskeleton in the Battlefield Workshop 2018: March 6-8

This event will be held at the  Maj. Housiau Quartier Peutie Military Base in Vilvoorde, Belgium, right before WearRAcon18.  This three-day event will aim to investigate how exoskeleton technology that is already available on the market may be applied to EOD operators (Explosive Ordnance Disposal suits, also known as bomb suits).

For registration to either of the two upcoming events, visit the EOD COE website: https://www.eodcoe.org/en/events/2nd-integration-exoskeleton-battlefield-workshop-2018/ 

Why exoskeletons and bomb suits?

There are several features of EOD suits that make them favorable for integration with exoskeleton technology.  First, they already come in large cases, so the addition of an exoskeleton or an exosuit will not be a significant burden.  Second, time to put the suit on and off is already factored in.  Third, the exoskeleton has a very focused task, to reduce the fatigue on the user.  A user that experiences less physical and mental stress due to wearing the bomb suit will be able to work safer and longer.

The Big Picture:

With the NATO Integration of the Exoskeleton in the Battlefield Project, Europe joins the U.S., Russia, China, Australia, and Canada in utilizing wearable robotics for the dismounted soldier.  In the last couple of years, military exoskeletons have been overshadowed by the rapid progress made by their medical and industrial counterparts.  However, the interest in military applications for the technology is clearly increasing.

Sources:

Integration of the Exoskeleton in the Battelfield Workshop 2017, Libor NYEKIE, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Center of Excellence, https://www.eodcoe.org/en/news/integration-exoskeleton-battlefield-workshop-2017.html#prettyPhoto

Mawashi presented the UPRISE™ Tactical Exoskeleton at the NATO Integration of the Exoskeleton in the Battelfield Workshop 2017 (IEBWS17), Jean-Marc (John) Sheitoyan, LinkedIn

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