It's not as exciting as seeing Big Dog or Petman in action, but infantry in the US Army should be happy now that DARPA's begun testing its Warrior Web support system. One day robotic exoskeletons will allow humans to easily lift and carry hundreds of kilograms, but DARPA has set its sights on a more immediately achievable goal with what could be described as the future of supportive undergarments.
Designed to be worn underneath a soldier's existing uniform as an unobtrusive second skin, the Warrior Web system is composed of sensors and components designed to provide extra support when needed. In addition to better distributing a soldier's heavy pack across his body, the system also features supports that can stiffen as needed to provide extra strength in the joints to minimise injury and maximise performance.
And while the military is just only starting to test the system, it has the potential to be used on the battlefield in a manner of years instead of decades for more advanced technologies.