An exoskeleton designed and built at Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control facility in Orlando was recently shown off to the U.S. Army in New York state.
As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, the Lockheed project was demoed alongside exoskeleton prototypes from other companies, such as Massachusetts-based Dephy, at a three-day summit held at Fort Drum.
The device, known as ONYX, weighs in at 15 pounds and is worn on the legs, stretching from the ankles to the upper thigh.
ONYX uses electro-mechanical knee actuators, a suite of sensors, and an AI computer with the goal of tracking movements and assisting the wearer with crossing arduous terrain.
Once the nuances of an individual’s movements are learned by the AI, the device kicks in and “guides orthopedic alignment” and provides powered assistance to help with tasks such as running up stairs or jumping up and down from obstacles, which the company says is especially useful if the wearer is carrying a heavy load.
Late last year, Lockheed Martin received a $6.9 million award from the Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) to enhance the exoskeleton. In addition to that money funding work at Lockheed’s Orlando-based facility, the University of Florida was been tasked with evaluating the improvements.
In 2018, ONYX received Popular Science magazine’s Grand Award in the Security category in their annual Best of What New 2018 Awards.
Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control facility, located off International Drive, has been bringing on more talent to work on several projects, including ONYX and the development of the targeting system used in the F-35 stealth jet.
Earlier last year, exiting-Gov. Rick Scott announced that the state and Orange County had agreed to a $3.5 million economic development package that would see Lockheed add 500 new jobs and make $50 million in capital improvements to the Orlando facility. The new jobs will pay an average of $87,000 a year.
A video of ONYX in action is below: