DARPA gets a suitor

Marc Sanchez Jul 23, 2012

Researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering are swimming in 2.6 million DARPA bucks thanks to a new smart suit design. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, put a call out to design a sort of under-camo system that soldiers could use to maintain an extremely high level of physical endurance. The Harvard engineers’ response looks something like a series of athletic braces that connect from over the shoulders to a belt around the waist to kneepads to booties. The Harvard Gazette describes the system:

Lightweight, efficient, and nonrestrictive, the proposed suit will be made from soft wearable assistive devices that integrate several novel Wyss technologies. One is a stretchable sensor that would monitor the body’s biomechanics without the need for the typical rigid components that often interfere with motion. The system could potentially detect the onset of fatigue. Additionally, one of the technologies in the suit may help the wearer maintain balance by providing low-level mechanical vibrations that boost the body’s sensory functions.

With some tweaking, the engineers say that similar suits could be used outside the military, possibly to help the elderly stay balanced or with physical therapy patients. I guess that means Grandmama might finally have to get off her duff, haul herself down to the Piggly Wiggly for her own damn lottery ticket. Finally, I’ve never seen such a 97-year-old slacker.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.