The Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC™) is the third generation exoskeleton system. It incorporates the features of ExoHiker™ and ExoClimber™ exhibiting two independent characteristics:
- It takes up to 200 pounds without impeding the wearer (Strength Augmentation)
- It decreases its wearer’s metabolic cost (Endurance Augmentation).
While the first characteristic requires little explanation, the 2nd characteristic is a compelling and competitive advantage of HULC™ completely absent in any other exoskeleton system. During preliminary evaluations, oxygen consumption of users walking at a speed of 2 MPH, decreased by 5%~12% when using our Alpha test unit without a payload. When users carried a load, the effect was more pronounced. The oxygen consumption of these users carrying an 81 pound approach load at a speed of 2MPH decreased by about 15% when using the prototype HULC™
The reduction of the wearer’s metabolic cost is of paramount importance for long duration missions. This is true because excessive oxygen consumption leads to premature fatigue even if the exoskeleton supports the load. In fact, a very recent BAA from the Natick Soldier System Center requests proposals to conduct a preliminary study on solutions that lead to a reduction of oxygen consumption. HULC™ fueled by proprietary technology, will allow soldiers to march with load at lower oxygen consumption and heart rate than any exoskeleton in existence. Lockheed Martin and Berkeley Bionics intend to jointly bring HULC™ to market.