Topic


Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC)

Description



The Human Universal Load Carrier, also known as HULC, is a hydraulic-powered anthropomorphic exoskeleton used by military solider's to carry immense weight for long periods of time. This high tech machinery was developed by Professor H. Kazerooni at Ekso Bionics. The HULC is designed to reduce muscloskeletal injuries that occur from strain on soldiers caused by lifting large loads.

The HULC is controlled by an on-board microcomputer that ensures that the HULC system, or exoskelton, moves in unison with the person using the device. It runs on lithium polymer batteries and is equipped with a power saving mode to continue to support the massive workloads while also conserving battery power. With the unit's design, the user can also perform deep squats, crawls and upper body lifting without large amounts of energy exerted which allows for military men wearing the exoskelton to do more in less time. The HULC also becomes more efficent in terms of metabolic cost, which in short conveys that less oxygen is being consumed by the user which allows for less energy to be lost and in the long term significantly reduces injury.

The HULC has a range of 20km when the warfighter moves on level terrain at 4km/hour. It supports front and back payloads. The user can move at maximum speed of 11kmph long duration and at 16kmph burst speed.
The system has various mission-specific attachments and can carry integrated systems such as armour, heating or cooling systems, plus sensors.

Lockheed Martin has recently updated the HULC creating the HULC Robotic Exoskeleton MKII and has begun running tests on this new update to assess its new functions. The MKII reportedly now has better protection for the elements, improved fitting, easier adjustments, increased run time and new control software.


As of now, there isn't even much competition for the HULC. The closest things in comparison are models such as the Raytheon/SARCOS XOS 2 system and they are tethered to a power generator, whereas the HULC is so efficient it can run off of batteries. As if they weren't far enough ahead of the competition in portability, Lockheed Martin announced that it is evaluating fuel cell power sources to increase the duration to support a 96 hour mission.

Applications


Originality designed to help soldiers with combat, the structure and design of the HULC can be used for more than just military personal, it can be used to help paraplegics walk.

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Not only could it help paraplegics to walk, it could also allow them to run, climb, dance, and exercise. People who would have previously been confined to a wheelchair may now have the chance to live normal lives again, and maybe even to enter into career fields that their disability would have prevented.
Elderly individuals could also benefit from the assisted mobility, allowing them greater independence in their later years.

The options for shield attachments, and the extreme maneuverability also make this a very appealing tool for law enforcement officers. Bomb squads could implement the HULC into a design for a heavy duty protection suit that could withstand average explosives in case of a discharge.
Another potential application for the HULC is as a firefighting device. HULC could be used to clear heavy debris, hold more equipment, and potentially to carry more or heavier individuals out of danger. HULC would also make it easier for firefighter to manuever in full gear, and could prevent many common problems for firefighters such as back and knee strain.

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