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Powered exoskeleton 
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PITA Bred
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Post Powered exoskeleton
Whoa. Check this out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYWd2C3XVIk

The one thing I don't see is the power source - we've had the capability for decades to make an exoskeleton like this, or the loader in Aliens, even with the fine closed-loop feedback. The problem is powering the sucker without an external hydraulic power unit the size of a Prius. It takes a LOT of hydro flow and pressure to exert this much force with that much speed. I don't think any kind of electric actuators could be small enough and powerful enough - and then you'd still need a powerful generator or battery system.

As someone on the YouTube comments put it, we can make a real pretty spaceship, but not one with engines. Yet.

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Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:33 pm
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NitroForum Oldster
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Post Re: Powered exoskeleton
Impressive, even with wired power.

Materials science, miniaturization, feedback controls. Portable power may not be too far away. This sort of thing reminds me of the problems the Wright brothers solved, pulling it all together.

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Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:38 pm
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PITA Bred
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Post Re: Powered exoskeleton
Robert W Franson wrote:
Materials science, miniaturization, feedback controls. Portable power may not be too far away. This sort of thing reminds me of the problems the Wright brothers solved, pulling it all together.

I dunno. We've had most of that tech since maybe the 1950s, with miniaturized control perhaps not mature until the last decade.

I can't conceive of a way to pack enough power into something that could be integrated into a free-roving mansuit. The only solution that combines relatively light weight and the extreme force needed is hydraulics. (Electrical actuators have only a fraction of the power and their size and weight grow disproportionately to their effected power. High-torque and high-thrust actuators - like a car's starter motor - typically have very low duty cycles for cooling reasons.)

With hydro, you can have enormous power in a compact actuator, but speed is a matter of flow at pressure. You could build a smallish power unit for the suit we saw that would work fine, as long as turtle-like movement was okay. To get power and speed of actuation... you're back to a really big power unit eating three-phase power like cornflakes.

Nope. This is like the Moller air-car: 90% finished, 10% unobtainium.


Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:15 pm
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: Powered exoskeleton
James Gifford wrote:
To get power and speed of actuation... you're back to a really big power unit eating three-phase power like cornflakes.

Nope. This is like the Moller air-car: 90% finished, 10% unobtainium.


What he said. Power sources have not realized the dream of the Shipstone. The increase in energy density in portable devices has shown only tepid improvement in thirty years. The only reason that cellphones have gotten smaller and lighter is because their power consumption has dropped like a rock, not because the batteries are better.

Hydrogen cells are supposed to be some sort of improvement. Wake me up when they've got one ready.

I do wonder what the safety factor is when you have that much energy in a small space. Like carrying around a hand grenade tuned to go off veeeeery slowly. Hope that regulator doesn't fail.


Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:54 pm
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