The fact that Lockheed Martin's latest piece of Army equipment is called the HULC (pronounced like the comic book character The Hulk) is appropriate. That's because the pack management system works as a superhuman "exoskeleton."
The name stands for Human Universal Load Carrier, and it's meant to lighten a soldiers individual load while out in the field while also allowing him to carry things never thought possible. The description from Lockheed Martin is incredible:
The HULC is a completely un-tethered, hydraulic-powered anthropomorphic exoskeleton that provides users with the ability to carry loads of up to 200 lbs for extended periods of time and over all terrains. Its flexible design allows for deep squats, crawls and upper-body lifting. There is no joystick or other control mechanism. The exoskeleton senses what users want to do and where they want to go.
Up to 200 lbs over all terrains? Senses what users want to do? That's what they're saying. And it's all battery powered.
Business Insider has put together a slideshow of pictures highlighting some of the system's features:
Below, you can watch one of the promo videos for the HULC, complete with the appropriate heart-thumping music and one of the designers describing it as a "wearable robot:"
This is the HULC lifting some heavy equipment at recent trade show:
According to BI, The HULC is currently being tested at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Centre in Massachusetts. The next step is for it to undergo simulated battlefield testing.
To see more pictures of the incredible piece of machinery, visit Business Insider.