It's no secret that the U.S. Army (among others) has been doing plenty of experimenation with exoskeletons, which could one day let soldiers lift heavier objects or even run faster. Some new tests now being done at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, however, take a bit of a different approach. They're using a mechanical arm exoskeleton called MAXFAS to help train soldiers to aim and shoot accurately.
The idea is a fairly simple one: the exoskeleton helps to stabailize the solider's arm when their aiming, with a seriers of sensors monitoring any slight tremor that can then be corrected, while still allowing full freedom of movement. Notably, that system isn't unique to the Army -- it's actually adapted from a similar system used by the University of Delaware to help stroke victims regain arm movement.
What's more, while the tests are still in the early stages, they've already produced some noticeable results. As the researchers explain in a news release, "the initial experiments showed that after subjects wore MAXFAS and then performed a shooting trial, the tremor that causes this type of shake was lessened, even after removing the device."
Of course, the army also sees the technology eventually being used for more than basic training. "My vision is that one day," said Drexel University's Sean Averill, who's working on the project, in a statement, "a more mature version of MAXFAS could be used to improve aim on the battlefield despite any adverse conditions."