Thursday, July 22, 2010

Exoskeleton system ready for soldier tests

Exoskeleton system ready for soldier tests:

A robotic exoskeleton that makes it easier for soldiers to run and carry heavy weights is to go through final testing in the US.
The HULC (Human Universal Load Carrier) allows soldiers to carry weights of up to 200lbs (91kg) with little effort and is designed to reduce the strain of carrying heavy equipment.
It works by transferring the load to the ground through the exoskeleton's titanium legs and uses an onboard computer to sense and mimic the user's movements.
The battery powered device, which can fit different body sizes, also allow for jumps, squats, crawling and slow-speed running.
"It does not impede your range of motion whatsoever," says HULC project manager Jim Ni.
"Just imagine you're a soldier operating at 6,000ft in the Afghan mountains and being asked to take 120lbs up there in the thin air.
HULC systemThe HULC allows soldiers to carry weight of up to 91kg with little effort
"An exoskeleton allows you to carry that weight the same distance and have energy left to execute the mission when you get there."
Although the HULC weighs 53lbs (24kg), its makers say it also transfers its own weight to the ground, making it virtually unnoticeable.
Lockheed Martin, which makes the device, has reworked an earlier prototype and produced a new "ruggedized design" that will begin an eight week lab test at the end of 2010.
The testing will look at how quickly people learn to operate the system and measure the energy a soldier uses when using the HULC.
"The tests will help us assess the current state of the technology," said David Audet, from the US Army's Natick Soldier Research Center.
"Exoskeletons have the potential to reduce stress on the body from heavy loads."
After the lab tests, the HULC is likely to go through more field tests in 'real-life' military scenarios during 2011

(via bbc)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Tiny Power House for Home- Bloom Box

A Tiny Power House for Home- BloomBox

Fuel cells have been a tantilizing technolgy for decades - powering space vehicles, but always a little out of reach for domestic or commercial use. I worked with Greenopolis Partner Plug Power for years - working to provide clean on site energy from hydrogen powered fuel cells. Now there’s the Bloom Box

That’s not a typo for a new carry-on-your shoulder stereo system. The Bloom Box is a refrigerator-sized box that can power your whole house, store or business.

Bloom Energy is a venture capital funded firm that builds the “Bloom Box”- an appliance sized unit that houses fuel cells running on natural gas, landfill gas, bio-gas or solar power. Fuel cells combine hydrogen with oxygen and emit only heat, electricity and distilled water.

Google has been powering a datacenter with 4 Bloom Boxes running on natural gas for the past year and a half. eBay has 5 of them in San Jose, which they claim have saved them $100,000 in energy costs over the past 9 months.

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