As has been reported earlier by Financial Express Online, DRDO Lab carries out multiple R&D in the bio-engineering and electro-medical technology so that technological advancement reaches the soldiers.
One example being exoskeletons which can be worn by over a regular uniform or combat gear so that a soldier’s strength is augmented. This shall ensure those soldiers out on patrol duty can wear leg-gear which assists in walking in the snow, thereby reducing exhaustion and fatigue faced by the soldier in a thin oxygen climate.
For the Indian soldier, such futuristic technology which could have helped in the minus 30-40 degrees Celsius temperature is still a long way to fructify.
A senior officer who wished to remain anonymous has told Financial Express Online, “This is an R&D project on which DRDO is spending resources and manpower on their own and does not have a sanction from the services, hence not planned for delivery. It may be prudent that such ad-hoc projects can be allocated to the private Industry; along with fund allocation for better results and ensures ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ motto in the Defence sector is sustained.”
What is the current status of Exoskeletons
Responding to Financial Express Online on the current status of the Exoskeletons, the DRDO says, “DEBEL as the nodal lab has taken up augmentative exoskeleton development utilizing in house expertise in disciplines of Biomedical/Biomechanics, actuators and control systems, towards enhancing Indian soldiers’ performance in military scenarios. Various configurations of exoskeleton like upper extremity, lower extremity and full-body exoskeletons are being developed involving various DRDO laboratories.”
“Since the exoskeletons are application-specific and wearer/person-specific; DEBEL has carried out the systematic full-body data collection of biomechanical parameters on Indian soldier’s anthropometry during their specific mission activities and also carried out musculoskeletal modelling and simulation to understand the muscle forces acting on soldiers, with and without wearing the exoskeleton. Based on this simulation and muscle force activity, DRDO has developed a laboratory prototype model of the powered exoskeleton and currently it is undergoing functional validation at the laboratory.
DRDO is currently working on Optimization, Joint compliance mechanism, Innovative payload transfer mechanism and biomechanical design, Indigenous actuators and Reduction of system weight using composites,” the response to Financial Express Online from DRDO states.