Use of Exoskeletons
The exoskeleton can be used to provide additional protection to soldiers when in combat. Since the extreme is made of hard material, it acts as body armor to the soldier wearing it (Doyle 10). Military personnel can use the exoskeleton can move heavy objects on the battlefield. Through its hydraulic system, the suit enables the soldier to move heavy weights, therefore making it unnecessary to have heavy-lift machinery present for these tasks.
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The armor will protect soldiers from enemy fire, ensuring that the number of deaths and injuries suffered during military confrontations is reduced. The efficiency of the soldiers will be increased since they will be able to travel for greater distances while carrying heavy loads with little fatigue. The use of exoskeletons by the military will lead to a reduction in the need for heavy-lift machinery on the battlefield since the soldiers will be able to lift heavy objects with the help of these machines. Finally, exoskeletons will enable soldiers to single-handedly carry and operate heavy weapons that normally require two or more soldiers to handle (Donaldson 58).
A major disadvantage is that exoskeletons require a constant power supply. These machines would be ineffective when the battery runs out. Another disadvantage is that if the exoskeleton is damaged during combat, the soldier will be trapped inside it, making him/her vulnerable to enemy fire (Doyle 10). In addition to this, exoskeletons would significantly increase military spending in the country. These machines are complicated robotic systems and the military would have to spend billions of dollars to equip an adequate number of soldiers with them. Finally, soldiers would need specialized training to gain the expertise needed to maintain the complex exoskeleton machine on the battlefield.
Use of Exoskeletons
The space industry can use exoskeletons to protect astronauts from harm when they venture into hostile environments. The exosuits can also be used to assist astronauts to walk in environments that have reduced gravitational pull. In addition to this, exoskeletons can be used for exercising purposes by astronauts who are confined in space stations for long durations. Howell explains that exoskeletons can be used to “add resistive force in microgravity environments” (par. 4).
A major merit of exoskeletons in the space industry is that they protect astronauts who are working in high-risk environments. These suits have a hard shell that encases the body of the astronaut ensuring that he/she is safe from environmental hazards. Exoskeletons increase the efficiency of astronauts by reducing the effort required to perform tasks. Newman observes that these machines minimize energetic expenditures, therefore making it possible for astronauts to carry out energy-intensive tasks without suffering from fatigue (par. 3). Exoskeletons enable astronauts to deal with heavy weights by providing robotic power boosts. Astronauts are therefore able to carry out laborious tasks without using heavy-duty equipment.
The exoskeletons used in the space industry require constant power to operate. As such, astronauts may have to be tethered to a power source since the mobile battery units are exhausted after a limited duration. Another significant disadvantage is that they limit the mobility and dexterity of astronauts (Newman 975). The astronauts using exoskeletons are not able to move are free as they would without these machines. Their range of motion is restricted making it hard for them to perform intricate procedures. Finally, the cost of developing and implementing exoskeletons is very high. The space industry has therefore had to abandon some projects aimed at creating advanced exosuits for astronauts.
Donaldson, Peter. “Biomechanical Developments.” Military Technology 38.12 (2014): 58-59. Web.
Doyle, John. “Future Trooper. Aviation Week & Space Technology.” 176.40 (2014): 10-11. Web.
Howell, Elizabeth. ‘Iron Man’ Exoskeleton Could Give Astronauts Superhuman Strength. 2013. Web.
Newman, Dava. “Revolutionary Design for Astronaut Exploration: Beyond the Bio-Suit System.” AIP Conference Proceedings 880.1 (2007): 975-986. Print.