The next-gen unpowered lightweight exoskeleton called Fortis is developed by Lockheed Martin. The Fortis will provide its user endurance, strength, and flexibility. What makes Fortis different is that it is lightweight and doesn’t need or require a power source.
Transfer of loads through the exoskeleton to the ground in standing or kneeling positions will allow users to use heavy tools or equipment like they are weightless. The Fortis can move naturally with the users, and it can adapt to different body types and heights because of its ergonomic design that utilizes biomechanics.
Fortis can be used in standing and kneeling positions, and it has joints and design that do not hinder movement or flexibility. It has joints in parts of the body—in the ankle, knee, and hip. It can also flex from side to side at the waist.
It lets the operators carry or lift heavy tools effortlessly by lessening fatigue on the operators’ muscles by up to 300 percent, improving productivity by 200 to 2,700 percent by using the Equipois zeroG® arm. The Fortis features no hydraulics or motors that would assist the operators. The Fortis works because of the articulated swing arm attached to the exoskeleton at the waist. This feature transfers the weight of the load to the ground.
Adam Miller, director of new initiatives for Lockheed Martin, states that, “The longest operators could work continuously without a break was three minutes sustained without augmentation. Using the Fortis, operators could work 30 minutes or longer without requiring rest breaks.”
The Fortis was developed originally for military applications. It was not designed, however, for battlefield but for military support personnel. They work using heavy tools such as grinders and riveters that weigh between 7 and 14 kg. With the suit, even the weakest of these personnel can hold the said tools for much longer than normal.
“There’s a lot of wear and tear on you,” says Miller . “Skilled workers can maybe do that for three to four minutes, then they need to put the tool down, and they need to rest.”
As of now, the US Navy has acquired two of the Fortis exoskeletons from Lockheed. They will be testing them over the next six months. The makers of this new tech also foresee the product to be useful for civilians in activities like mining and construction.
Watch Lockheed Martin’s “Fortis” Exoskeleton in action below.