Guardian Exoskeleton

The U.S. Military is Buying a Brutal-Looking Powered Exoskeleton

They give its wearers "the strength of a forklift but a gentler touch."

3. 19. 19 by Victor Tangermann
Sarcos Robotics
Image by Sarcos Robotics

The Guardian XO

It looks a bit like a cross between Iron Man’s suit and Ripley’s Power Loader from “Aliens” — and while it won’t kill the alien queen quite yet, it does give its wearer super strength.

American robot developer Sarcos Robotics announced today that it’s been awarded a contract by United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to deliver a pre-production, full-body robotic exoskeleton called the “Guardian XO.” And it looks absolutely brutal.

The deal is the latest sign that the Pentagon sees promise in Sarcos’ tech. Earlier this month, the company announced a partnership with the U.S. Navy to evaluate the feasibility of using its full-body exoskeletons to “optimize shipyard operations.” A separate contract with the U.S. Air Force was signed in August 2018 for “logistics applications.”

The partnership could greatly enhance the productivity of a single officer in the field and decrease fatigue or strain — but the USSOCOM didn’t reveal the exact intended use case for the exoskeleton, which lets the wearer heft 200 pounds (90 kg).


Forklift Arms

It’s the latest sign that exoskeletons are finally hitting the mainstream. Automobile manufacturers are already considering the use of simpler exoskeletons on factory floors. And the Food and Drug Administration approved a lower-body exoskeleton last year for use by people with lower limb disabilities.

A February press release described Sarcos’ exoskeleton as giving its wearers “the strength of a forklift but a gentler touch.” The XO could be used anywhere from factories and mines to construction sites.

Hot Swap Batteries

The Guardian XO is powered by an on-board battery and can be operated for up to eight hours — its rechargeable battery packs are hot swappable for even more power in the field.

Many exoskeletons of its kind had to be powered through a tether hooked up to a power source. Sarcos claims that’s what “held them back from commercialization” in a press release.


And Sarcos says that its battery tech has come a long way.

“The first prototype 10 years ago was hydraulically powered and drew 6,000 watts,” Sarcos’ chief marketing officer Kristi Martindale said. “Now it’s less than 400 watts of power for the whole suit.”

READ MORE: Sarcos wins another U.S. contract for Guardian XO full-body exoskeleton [The Robot Report]

More on exoskeletons: Exoskeletons are About to Walk Ford’s Factory Floors


As a Futurism reader, we invite you join the Singularity Global Community, our parent company’s forum to discuss futuristic science & technology with like-minded people from all over the world. It’s free to join, sign up now!

Share This Article

Keep up.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter to keep in touch with the subjects shaping our future.
I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement and Privacy Policy


Copyright ©, Singularity Education Group All Rights Reserved. See our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Futurism. Fonts by Typekit and Monotype.