DARPA Creating 'Warrior Web' Suit
August 27, 2013

DARPA Creating ‘Warrior Web’ Suit

Lee Rannals for www.redorbit.com – Your Universe Online

DARPA, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is looking to create a special suit for the military called Warrior Web that would prevent injury and boost endurance.

One of the most common injuries soldiers face on the battlefield are from carrying their 100 pounds worth of gear through the rough terrains that they traverse. The heavier the load, the more likely they will face musculoskeletal injury and fatigue. DARPA has developed its Warrior Web program to try and develop a soft, lightweight under suit that would reduce these injuries and fatigue.

According to the government agency, Warrior Web would improve a soldier's ability to perform more efficiently on a mission. The garment could help protect the injury-prone areas, as well as provide safe movement over a wide range of activities. The ideal garment would be comfortable, durable and washable, and would not interfere with body armor or other standard clothing.

“Many of the individual technologies currently under development show real promise to reduce injury and fatigue and improve endurance,” said LTC Joseph Hitt, DARPA program manager for Warrior Web. “Now we’re aiming to combine them—and hopefully some new ones, too—into a single system that nearly every Soldier could wear and would provide decisive benefits under real-world conditions.”

This program's next phase is to leverage component technology investments and further advance the development of the fully integrated undersuit system. DARPA hopes to find a way to better develop and implement the Warrior Web system. Other researchers may be working on certain technologies that could fall under this category DARPA seeks to fulfill, so it is asking for proposals from developers in a range of areas, hoping to potentially combine technologies that are already in the research and development phases.

Developers are being asked to submit their ideas by October 3 at 4:00 pm EST. DARPA said it has scheduled a Warrior Web Task B Proposers' Day for potential performers on September 5.

The agency expects the proposals to address many key technology areas. According to a press release, the ideal technology areas would include integrated advanced control systems across multiple joints, and also feature materials, fabrics, structures, sensors, sensor interfaces and human factors associated with developing wearable technologies.

Warrior Web could provide technologies that could also help soldiers with rehabilitation and physical therapy. DARPA said it even sees this technology transferring over to help the elderly population address problems faced with aging.

DARPA is preparing engineers for its Robotics Challenge competition by sending out its ATLAS humanoid robot to teams for testing their software. This challenge, which will take place in December, will see to it that engineers design software that prepares the humanoid for work in a disaster area, giving them the ability to walk on uneven terrain, climb stairs and ladders, handle debris and use tools.