US Army develops arm exoskeleton to speed up shooting skills

The US Army has developed an exoskeleton designed to be worn over the arm, and its purpose is to help future soldiers develop their marksmanship skills without the long duration of training typically involved. The mechatronic arm exoskeleton, as it is being called, is currently in testing as a future potential training tool. The benefits could exceed the speed of skill acquisition, as well, having other benefits like reducing the amount of ammunition used during training and, thusly, reducing training costs.

The exoskeleton arm, which is called MAXFAS, was recently detailed by Dan Baechle, a mechanical engineer with the US Army Research Laboratory. Said Baechle, "Soldiers need to be able to aim and shoot accurately and quickly in the chaos of the battlefield. Training with MAXFAS could improve Soldiers' accuracy, and reduce current time and ammunition requirements in basic training."

Thus far tests with MAXFAS has shown an improvement in the tremor many experience when, for example, holding out a laser pointer at arm's length and trying to keep it steady. That small movement that results isn't much, but has a big effect on one's target accuracy.

When MAXFAS is used tests show that tremor being reduced and remaining minimized even after the exoskeleton is removed. The inspiration for the exoskeleton came from a robotic device that is similar but used for training stroke victims to regain arm motion.

SOURE: U.S. Army