US Navy goes all Iron Man for industrial duty

Lockheed Martin’s FORTIS exoskeleton goes to work in Navy shipyards

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Lockheed Martin

It may not be the job Tony Stark or his Iron Man suit had in mind, but its still pretty cool. The US Navy said it is buying two Lockheed Martin exoskeletons to test out for industrial work on ships.

Lockheed says its FORTIS exoskeletontransfers loads through the exoskeleton to the ground in standing or kneeling positions and allows operators to use heavy tools as if they were weightless. An advanced ergonomic design moves naturally with the body and adapts to different body types and heights. Using the [system], operators can effortlessly hold objects up to 36 pounds, increasing productivity by reducing muscle fatigue and avoiding muscle injury.”

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Specifically in this case, Lockheed said it was looking to transition exoskeleton technology to the Department of Defense industrial base and perform testing and evaluation for industrial hand-tool applications at Navy shipyards.

“Ship maintenance often requires use of heavy tools, such as grinders, riveters or sandblasters,” said Adam Miller, director of new initiatives at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in a statement. “Those tools take a toll on operators due to the tools’ weight and the tight areas where they are sometimes used. By wearing the FORTIS exoskeleton, operators can hold the weight of those heavy tools for extended periods of time with reduced fatigue.”

Terms of the cost of the contract were not disclosed.

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