MEXFAS is a U.S. Army designed exoskeleton that can help soldiers improve their accuracy by reducing the effects of sleep deprivation or stress.
Designed by Dan Beachle, a mechanical engineer at the Army Research Laboratory, the new device could help reduce tremor effects that cause inaccurate fire or even accidental shots in some cases.
The MEXFAS is based on the design of a University of Delaware device used to train patients with arm motion complications like stroke victims.
The wearer has to be fitted with a carbon fiber frame connected to leavers and strings, that allow motors to correct movement and thus reduce tremors when they are detected by the sensors.
What is very important about this device, is that through training it can improve the wearer’s hand and motion stability even after the equipment has been removed. This makes the mechanism very useful for training new army recruits, especially if combined with simulated environments.
MEXFAS can improve accuracy under fire and in dangerous and stressful situations, by diminishing the tremor effects caused by nervousness and reducing some of the involuntary movements associated with it.
The device is still in test phase and will most likely be improved and upgraded before it gets approval for production. At this point one of the specifications that will likely remain as part of the design is the use of carbon fiber as the construction material.
Because a carbon fiber frame weightless, such devices could become fully portable in the future, without being an inconvenience to carry and without causing the wearer’s arm to get tired and hurt.
Refining the device will be a challenge which requires experts in different fields like robotics, materials, and human sciences to work together. For now Beachle is helped by Sean Averill a research assistant who for six months has been working on getting motion streaming into the lab view, the electrical components and the system security devices.
Beachle welcomes improvement ideas from scientists in various fields and hopes that the device will one day make science fiction a reality. He also stated that in the future he hopes a more upgraded version will help save the lives of soldiers on the battlefields.
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