US Army to develop Firearm Aim Stabilization Exoskeleton

    Exoskeleton test © 2013 Daniel M. Baechle

    IHS Global Spec (part of the publishing group that publishes Janes) have published an interesting article about developments in commercial and military exoskeleton. Apparently the US Army is developing an exoskeleton that would allow better control of small arms. Dr. Roger Pink writes

    For instance, two weeks before the Robo-Mate prototype presentation, the U.S. Army announced that it was developing an exoskeleton for soldiers to automatically steady a soldier’s arm when firing a weapon. The Mobile Arm eXoskeleton for Firearm Aim Stabilization (MAXFAS) is equipped with accelerometers and gyroscopes that are attached to the soldier’s forearm and upper arm with Velcro straps. These devices detect minute arm movements then transfer that information to microchips where algorithms distinguish between involuntary and voluntary motions. A network of cables then pulls on the soldier’s arm to adjust and stabilize it. A test of the exoskeleton resulted in 14 of 15 soldiers shooting more accurately while wearing MAXFAS than without. Accuracy improved by 27% overall across the group.

    MAXFAS was inspired by a medical exoskeleton—the wearable orthosis for tremor assessment and suppression (WOTAS). Tremor is one of the most common movement disorders in neurological medicine, and biomechanical loading has appeared as a potential tremor suppression alternative (IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2007 Sep; 15(3): 367-378). The Army realized that reducing involuntary tremor also could improve soldiers’ weapons accuracy.

    Imagine how useful it would be for designated marksmen, or even better a light machine gunner, to snipe from a standing position while leaning around a corner and be able to make their just by getting the scope on target.

    A exoskeleton manufacturer has invited TFB to take their exoskeleton to the range to see how well it deals with firearm recoil. As soon as we do, we will report back.




    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!