The U.S. Army has developed a rapidly advancing prototype for a robotic exoskeleton arm to be worn by soldiers. Dubbed the Mobile Arm eXoskeleton for Firearm Aim Stabilization (Or MAXFAS for short), the arm is groundbreaking in that it is the first of its kind that allows full mobility while simultaneously holding the arm completely steady during aim and fire.
The man behind the device is named Dan Baechle, and he’s a mechanical engineer at the U.S. Army Research Lab. He says that what an image stabilizer does for a camera, MAXFAS does for a soldier: “The exoskeleton senses the tremors in your arm that you probably don’t even realize exist.”
The carbon fiber arm does this through an array of sensors whose job is to pick up the slightest movements and tell the rest of the device to stop them from occurring. Originally designed to help stroke victims relearn arm movements, MAXFAS is now repurposed for the battlefield.
While the prototype still requires a direct connection to a power source, Baechle notes that the eventual goal is a fully field-ready arm completely immune to fatigue and inaccuracy. You can read his entire thesis here.