Building The Soldiers of Tomorrow: The Army Just Got Bionic Knees

The soldier of the future is being built piece-by-piece.

7. 20. 16 by Jelor Gallego
 Cpl Andrew Wesley, Directorate of Army Public Affairs
Image by Cpl Andrew Wesley, Directorate of Army Public Affairs

Bionic Man

Creating our own version of the Bionic Man is steadily becoming a reality. Arms, legs, and many other parts of the body are getting upgrades. And that includes knees.

The Halifax-based Spring Loaded Technology announced that it has completed the first part of its contract with the Canadian Military, having delivered 60 of 190 ordered bionic knee braces.

The company and the Canadian Department of National Defense entered into a $1 million (CAD) contract for UpShot bionic knee braces. The government ordered 190 of the things to be put under rigorous testing.

Spring Loaded Technologies

The UpShot helps soldiers lift more than 45 kg (100 pounds) of body weight when worn on both knees. It uses a liquid spring technology that absorbs shock and reduces impact on soldiers’ knees.

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The technology promises to reduce muscle fatigue, enhance strength and performance, and protect against knee injuries—all things that are badly needed in military duty, as such duty often involves heavy lifting and rugged terrain, which creates strain on the knees.

Civilian Versions

But the UpShot is not the only product in Spring Loaded’s roster. It has released a civilian version of the knee brace, called Levitation.

Levitation, the child of a successful Indiegogo campaign, uses the same liquid spring technology to help civilian and ordinary users. It improves strength, mobility and endurance by storing energy as the leg bends and returning that energy as the leg straightens.

“With power-output similar to that found in $100,000 powered exoskeletons, [Levitation] the first knee brace of its kind that can help average people crouch, walk or jump free from pain,” said Chris Cowper-Smith, CEO of Spring Loaded Technology in a press release.

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