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News

Protecting soldiers with advanced technology

Arizona State University : 24 October, 2014  (Special Report)
Engineers from Arizona State University have created a working prototype jetpack that attaches to a soldier's back and helps them run faster. But ideas such as this could take years to evolve into practical battlefield equipment, if at all.
Protecting soldiers with advanced technology
The men and women who serve in the armed forces face many dangerous combat situations that might result in severe injuries and even death. US Military Casualties Statistics reports the loss of 6,775 servicemen during three major operations in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014, and 51,809 injuries. Research into futuristic innovations, such as a  jetpack to help soldiers run faster, could help soldiers evade injury, not just protect against it.
 
US engineers have created a jetpack to help wearers run much faster. Built by Jason Kerestes, an Arizona State University researcher, it is currently undergoing testing. The project comes under the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) optimistically-named Four Minute Mile (4MM) project.
 
The ability to run faster wearing the backpack could make the difference during dangerous combat situations. The idea is to give soldiers an instant boost when facing life-or-death situations on the battlefield - perhaps up to 20 seconds faster over 200m. However, it also has its drawbacks: if your legs can't keep up, you'll trip yourself up.
 
While the 4MM project is reminiscent of The Rocketeer, it is not the only superhero-inspired project the military is working on. A new generation of soft exosuit, which will help soldiers to walk further, lift more weight and minimise injury risks, has been likened to Spiderman’s, and the US Navy is testing an Iron Man-type exoskeleton called Fortis.
 
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