Reaching a Consensus on Testing & Evaluation of Military Exoskeletons for the Dismounted Combatant

Research Paper Title

Consensus paper on testing and evaluation of military exoskeletons for the dismounted combatant.

Abstract

Enhancing the capabilities of the dismounted combatant has been an enduring goal of international military research communities.

Emerging developments in exoskeleton technology offers the potential to augment the dismounted combatant’s capabilities.

However, the ability to determine the value proposition of an exoskeleton in a military context is difficult due to the variety of methods and metrics used to evaluate previous devices.

The aim of this paper was to present a standard framework for the evaluation and assessment of exoskeletons for use in the military.

A structured and systematic methodology was developed from the end-user perspective and progresses:

  • From controlled laboratory conditions (Stage A);
  • To simulated movements specific to the dismounted combatant (Stage B); and
  • Real-world military specific tasks (Stage C).

A standard set of objective and subjective metrics were described to ensure a holistic assessment on the human response to wearing the exoskeleton and the device’s mechanical performance during each stage.

A standardised methodology will ensure further advancement of exoskeleton technology and support improved international collaboration across research and industry groups.

In doing so, this better enables international military groups to evaluate a system’s potential, with the hope of accelerating the maturity and ultimately the fielding of devices to augment the dismounted close combatant and small team capability.

Reference

Mudie, K.L., Boynton, A.C., Karakolis, T., O’Donovan, M.P., Kanagaki, G.B., Crowell, H.P., Begg, R.K., LaFiandra, M.E. & Billing, D.C. (2018) Consensus paper on testing and evaluation of military exoskeletons for the dismounted combatant. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 21(11), pp.1154-1161. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2018.05.016. Epub 2018 May 18.

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