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Powered Exoskeletons (Terra Futura)

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A powered exoskeleton was a uniform that was designed to assist and protect the wearer. It could enhance a soldier's physical abilities. Or it could just help a paraplegic person walk.

Background

Soldiers once wore suits of armor onto the battlefield. The ones in the Middle Ages were made of steel. These suits of armor were heavy. Despite that, they could protect against any weapon of the Middle Ages. Swords could not penetrate. The bow and arrow was no match for plated armor. What brought down the suit of armor was the gun. Because a bullet's energy was focused on a single point, a suit of armor could not protect a person. Heavy armor became a liability. For many years, soldiers went to war with little to protect them. Then, during the Vietnam War, kevlar was invented. This brought a resurgence in the suit of armor. Materials lighter than kevlar, such as carbon nanotubes would eventually replace it. By then, armored suits were doing more than protection. They were increasing a person's strength and even allowing someone who is paraplegic to walk.

Description

Tech Level: 10-11

In the early 21st century, powered exoskeletons started coming onto the market. Unlike the powered exoskeletons in Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers, these early models did not have full armor. The most famous example was the Human Universal Load Carrier or HULC. It could lift 200 pounds at a top speed of 10 mph. Early versions running on batteries lasted 8 hours on marches, but later versions running on fuel cells lasted 96 hours. When Ekso Bionics and Lockheed Martin launched the HULC suit, it revolutionized combat missions for the military. Meanwhile, on the home front, Ekso Bionics was making the wheelchair obsolete with the Ekso. The Ekso used crutches for coordination. Otherwise, paraplegics could now walk again. Eventually, bulky hydraulics were replaced with artificial muscles, and powered exoskeletons became full body. Electronicized crutches also became obsolete. It was highly likely that a real superhero would exist, and there was. More than one, in fact. They took advantage of other technology-based superpowers such as mind reading and telekinesis. Eventually, however, powered exoskeletons were giving way to cyborgs.

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