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High-tech exoskeleton can give firefighters superhuman abilities

London: A radical new suit for the firefighter of the future has been revealed that could give them superhuman strength.

The exoskeleton would allow firefighters to easily rescue and carry people out of fires, or take heavy equipment up flights of stairs inside a burning building.


Representation pic/thinkstock

It can be fitted with a range of gadgets for different mission, including a high-pressure water hose that simply clips onto the arm.

“Each year, an estimated 15,500 high-rise structure fires cause 60 civilian deaths, 930 injuries, and millions of dollars in property loss,” said Melbourne-based designer Ken Chen. “High-rises can hold thousands of people well above the reach of fire department aerial devices, once the fire is above the operational reach of aerial ladder or elevating platforms the chance of rescuing victims is near zero.”

To help solve the problem, Chen designed a strap on exoskeleton to boost firefighters’ strength and allow them to easily climb high buildings.

“The AFA exoskeleton suit aims to increase firefighters’ performance in walking, running and carrying while high-rise fire fighting,” he said.

Suit file

>> The suit can carry loads up to 91 kg and is strapped over the firefighters’ suit

>> The device transfers its weight and any carried loads can be loaded directly to the ground, so that firefighters don’t bear the weight

>> The weight of exo-suit is about 23kg, and it measures 1.6 metre

>> Fueled by a lithium battery, the exoskeleton has an operational time of up to two hours

>> The exo-suit has two actuator & sensor units at the back and 10 actuator units in each joint, with a control computer build in the main frame

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