The Next Step For U.S. Special Forces: Cybernetic Exoskeletons

The military’s elite special forces will be getting a sneak peek at our future of wearable computing and omnipresent sensors in the most direct way possible: Cybernetic exoskeletons with liquid body armor, night vision capabilities, robotic joint support, and hundreds of sensors monitoring the wearer’s body.

TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit) is a proposed project of the United States Special Operations Command currently under development by Army scientists. Special Operations chief Adm. William McRaven is personally pushing the project, and told defense contractor representatives in July, “I’m very committed to this, I’d like that last operator that we lost to be the last operator we lose in this fight or the fight of the future, and I think we can get there… It’s right for America.”

New details about the project were uncovered by Foreign Policy‘s John Reed [subscription required], who says the suit will likely include liquid body armor, heads-up displays that give “visual intelligence” to wearers, powered exoskeletons, body-monitoring sensors, and an experimental wound stasis component which gives emergency medical aid to military personnel the minute they’re injured… and while they’re still wearing the suit.

Information on TALOS’s technical aspects can be found through this Federal vendor solicitation notice; Jim Guerts of Special Operation Command said in a press release that “USSOCOM is interested in receiving white papers from a wide variety of sources, not just traditional military industry but also from academia, entrepreneurs, and laboratories capable of providing the design, construction, and testing of TALOS related technologies.” The U.S. military will continue speaking with potential partners about the TALOS project until September 2014.NU