SpringActive asked to push forward with developing robotic system to help foot soldiers carry heavy loads

ORLANDO, Fla., 23 May 2012. U.S. military researchers are asking an Arizona robotics company to refine its design of a robotic exoskeleton system designed to help infantry soldiers and Marines carry heavy loads for long periods during military operations while mitigating the risk of injury to hips, knees, and ankles.

The U.S. Army Contracting Command at the Aberdeen Proving Ground Adelphi Division in Orlando, Fla., on behalf of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., announced plans Monday to modify a previously awarded sole-source contract to SpringActive Inc. in Tempe, Ariz., for the Joint Torque Augmentation Robot (JTAR) program.

Military researchers want SpringActive to refine the JTAR ankle and hip designs after testing the first system prototype at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., revealed weaknesses in the first designs. The contract modification will call for SpringActive engineers to re-design the JTAR robotic system so that it fits and works better than the initial prototype.

JTAR stores and releases energy by using tuned springs and by converting electrical energy from a battery to ease stresses on the infantryman's hips, knees, and ankles while he walks or runs -- especially while carrying heavy loads.

Monday's contract action calls for SpringActive to refine the JTAR ankle and reciprocating hip system after biomechanical testing of the first prototypes found improvements could be made in the JTAR system's fit and function, Army officials say.

The contract modification adds four months to the JTAR-development project, and awards SpringActive an additional $210,000 to complete modifications to the system. Re-competing the contract, on the other hand, would cost at least $1.2 million and take about two years, Army officials point out.

SpringActive specializes in robotic systems not only to help foot soldiers in the field, but also in advanced-technology prosthetic limbs to help amputees and the disabled to walk and run normally.

Among the company's military robotic systems is the Robotic Lightweight Load Carrying Exoskeleton (ROLLE), which helps lighten soldier loads with two externally mounted robotic legs that link a modified vest and backpack system to mounts on a soldier’s specialized boot.

The robotic legs use SpringActive’s JackSpring-compliant actuator technology to support the load down to the ground through the grounded leg when the leg is not in the swing phase.

SpringActive also designs the Soldier Power Regeneration Kit (SPaRK), which provides the foot soldier with a capability to generate electric power while walking to augment and extend traditional power sources like batteries.

This video illustrates the SpringActive Robotic Lightweight Load Carrying Exoskeleton (ROLLE) system to help infantry soldiers and Marines carry heavy loads into combat.

The SPaRK system, which mounts to the infantryman's boot and harvests energy from ankle motion, serves as an emergency backup power supply when battery power is depleted, and does not fatigue the soldier, company officials say. The SPaRK system can generate a continuous three to six Watts of power output per leg.

More information about the contract modification to SpringActive is online at https://www.fbo.gov/notices/ef853c32f2745f9f207c582df99f9374. For additional information contact SpringActive online at www.springactive.com, or the Army Contracting Command at www.acc.army.mil.

Follow Military & Aerospace Electronics and Avionics Intelligence news updates on Twitter

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Wire News provided by   

Press Releases

Low Viscosity, One Part Cyanoacrylate Is Non-Toxic and Meets ISO 10993-5 Specifications

Master Bond MB250NT is widely used for a variety of applications ranging from repair to high speed producti...

Thermally Conductive, Two Component Epoxy Passes USP Class VI Tests and ISO 10993-5 Specifications

With biocompatibility and cytotoxicity certifications, Master Bond EP21AOLV-2Med is often selected for bond...

One Component, Snap Cure Epoxy Features High Strength Properties

Suitable for a variety of applications in the electronic, aerospace and OEM industries, Master Bond EP3SP5F...

One Part Epoxy Resists up to 500°F and Meets NASA Low Outgassing Specifications

Master Bond Supreme 12AOHT-LO is a one component epoxy for a variety of bonding and sealing applications in...

VICTORY Shared Processing, Fire Control Computer, and Switch for Ground Vehicles Introduced by Curtiss-Wright

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has introduced a new fully i...


Curtiss-Wright Corporation’s Defense Solutions division applauds Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) o...

Curtiss-Wright’s New Rugged Mobile IP Router Subsystem Features an Integrated Cisco® 5915 ESR Router

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division, a Cisco® Systems Solution T...

GE Announces First Sub-Credit Card-Sized Multi-Function High Definition (HD) Video Tracker

HUNTSVILLE, AL.— OCTOBER 13, 2014—GE’s Intelligent Platforms business today announced at AUSA (October 13-...


Meeting the Gen3 backplane challenge with OpenVPX and COTS

Tight Pentagon budgets mean military systems must stay in the field for longer than ever before. This doesn't mean obsolete technology, however. Today's military electronics are being upgraded constantly, an...
Sponsored by:

Design Strategy Considerations for DO-178C Certified Multi-core Systems

Join Wind River to learn how system architecture and design choices can minimize your DO-178C certification challenges.

Sponsored by:

Flying, Sailing or Driving - The Rugged, Embedded Intel-based Server that goes where you need it!Flying Sailing or Driving

Leveraging the power of server-class processors is no longer relegated to the confines of data centers. Through several innovations, Mercury Systems has ruggedized Intel’s server-class chips for deployment. ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors

Mil & Aero Magazine

April 2015
Volume 26, Issue 4

Download Our Apps




Follow Us On...


Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles