Chinese space firm delivers exoskeleton system to firefighters, enhances performance in fighting grassland, forestry fires
Published: Apr 21, 2021 06:20 PM
Photo: courtesy of CASIC

Photo: courtesy of CASIC

Researchers with the Human Function Enhancement Technology Research Center under the State-owned aerospace contractor China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC) have recently delivered their latest exoskeleton system specially designed for firefighting in the woods, offering a space technology solution to address the challenges faced in forestry fire situations. 

"This exoskeleton system will be applied to enhance a firefighter's weight carrying capability to up to 50 kilograms, facilitating their movements in complicated environments such as mountain areas and in the woods," developers with the CASIC research center told the Global Times during an exclusive interview on Wednesday. 

The system weighs 5 kilograms and can effectively save more than 50 percent of the energy expended in walking, climbing and carrying goods, according to the developers.

It takes less than 60 seconds to put on and take off the exoskeleton, developers said, highlighting its convenience.

The State Council, China's cabinet, issued a national emergency plan for forest and grassland fires on November 23, 2020, stipulating the upgrading of high-tech firefighting equipment and increase in stocks of equipment specially for national emergency plans for forest and grassland firefighting.

The development of the new exoskeleton system meets the state demand, developers said. 

The Human Function Enhancement Technology Research Center had previously delivered their exoskeleton product specially for high-altitude regions in November 2020, and the equipment was expected to conserve users' energy in tasks including patrol and logistics support. 

Another powered exoskeleton product developed by the firm was used in the search and recovery work for the return capsule of the country's Chang'e-5 robotic lunar probe, which successfully brought back some 2 kilograms of lunar samples to Earth, the first time the feat had been achieved in more than four decades. 

Two people on the search and recovery team were wearing the exoskeleton, and after they arrived at the landing point, they planted a Chinese national flag next to the re-entry capsule.