TYR Tactical

Mawashi – UPRISE Tactical Exoskeleton

While the UPRISE™ Tactical Exoskeleton has popped up in various future soldier system program demonstrations, it was officially unveiled to the market at an offsite during SOFIC. I got a good look at it not long after, while attending CANSEC in Ottawa, Canada, in late May.

There are a whole slew of companies developing wearable robotics, or as they are more popularly known, exoskeletons. Mawashi says that Exoskeletons are a disruptive technology because they are impacting multiple industries simultaneously. Some of the systems have been created specifically for defense use. Of these, the vast majority are powered, which is crucial to the ability to lift heavy weights, such as a Power Loader taking the place of a forklift. However, that reliance on power can also be a weakness, for some applications. For example, no one wants to run out of power, midway through a mission. What makes Canadian firm Mawashi’s solution different is that it is human powered. Designed to reduce skeletal muscular injuries, UPRISE™ is an acronym for Ultralight Passive Ruggedized Integrated Soldier Exoskeleton.

Starting load carriage studies in 2005, Mawashi’s engineers investigated how the human body bears weight, in particular they looked at the severely overweight (300-700 lbs), especially Sumo wrestlers, who remain active despite their girth. Interestingly, the name Mawashi comes from the loincloth worn by the Sumo.

What Alain Bujold, President and Chief Technology Officer of Mawashi, and his team found, is that the body can bear an amazing amount of its own weight because of how it is distributed. They surmised that a load is a load; a pound, a pound, whether it’s fat or Mission Equipment.

UPRISE™ mimics the human form, with a flexible spine and sliding belt which combine to offer a great deal of freedom of movement. The exoskeleton is padded and fit is fine tuned via Boa dial at several locations on the legs.

The Harness also integrates with body armor as well as other loads such as packs. Additionally, they’ve demonstrated that gear normally worn on the War Belt, such as holsters, can be attached to the exoskeleton. No matter what is attached to the system, the entire weight of the exoskeleton is borne by a plate which is inserted like an insole into the wearer’s footwear. In fact, UPRISE™ transfers 50-80% of the wearer’s load right to the ground. Mawashi intends it for use on three to seven day missions.

Development continues. So far, the work has concentrated on the major load bearing structures of back and lower extremities, Mawashi plans to increase coverage. While UPRISE™ won’t make you run faster, and won’t give you super human strength, it will make you less fatigued, and it will help protect your lower joints.

They recently produced this video entitled, “WE ARE MAWASHI: The Rise of The Exoskeleton” which showcases the technology.

WE ARE MAWASHI: The Rise of the Exoskeleton from Mawashi Science & Technology on Vimeo.



28 Responses to “Mawashi – UPRISE Tactical Exoskeleton”

  1. james says:

    wonder just how much it weighs…? Is it distributing down on to the legs or the hips via the belt or a combination of the two…?

  2. Lasse says:

    Is the explanation for dummies that this is a hip-belt for your entire body?

    • Adun says:

      It appears that the idea is to put the weight on this frame, and straight into the ground, so you are moving the frame more than moving the weight. For example, you are going downhill with a pack on, that is a lot of shock on your knees, but if the force is going from this frame into the ground, the force bypasses your knees almost entirely.

      I don’t think it is going to make going uphill any easier, unless there is some kind of passive spring system or something, but it will help with the joint damage like they say in the article.

  3. tito says:

    Sumo is cool but naming company name with the sumo wrestler’s t-back is…uniquely Canadian, I guess…

  4. Thomas Madere says:

    When do you reach the point of diminishing returns adding all the extras that increase load but not necessarily combat effectiveness.

  5. Dellis says:

    Please correct me here if in error but I see this as a means to aide in weight distribution and making carrying a soldiers load more effective yet in doing so I see the military brass then conclude, “Hey, this means our guys can now carry more gear into battle!” Thus effectively negating the benefit of this system.

    • Greg says:

      Pentagon Wars 2.0

    • bloke_from_ohio says:

      They are going to keep adding weight to the troops regardless of improvements to load carraige technology. This might make that inevitability suck a little less. You will never see western troops running around in sandles with a spare mag and a water bottle, even if the bad guys do it.

  6. Joshua says:

    Certainly one of the better designs i have seen.

  7. James says:

    Good concept.I wonder about the interface with the ground. Almost seems like a modular boot component or a over boot would be a better way . Guess it depends on how comfortable they can make the insole.

    • SSD says:

      If you look at the photo, you’ll see that the plate has an insole attached to it. That could be any insole and used with any boot.

      • James says:

        That’s what I was getting at, the plate is going to be the limit for flex and conforming to the foot(like a hard midsole or steel shank) the insole is going to have to take up a lot of that slack.

        • SSD says:

          I realize you’re trying to sharp shoot this and tell us, and the engineers who designed it, why it won’t work, but go look at the photo and think about how your foot actually works. The plate ends before the ball of the foot. Your arch doesn’t pivot. The ankle and ball of the foot do that. There is a single axis rotator at the ankle.

          Could Mawashi work with a company to produce a boot which is optimized for use with their exoskeleton? Sure. But why do that when it will work with most footwear already in use?

          • James says:

            Not trying to shoot it down at all, if that’s what you mean. And I understand that it ends mid foot , but that’s not where the flex of your foot ends. Your midfoot flexes in several directions depending on how it is loaded, even pretty rigid midsoles account for it to some extent. Engineers aren’t magical beings, but I’m not even saying they made a mistake, just being curious about how it’s addressed.

            I do think a boot that allowed external attachment would give them a lot more room to address the issue and without something changing the comfort of the boot as much.

            • Erik says:

              I don’t think existing boots are stiff enough to provide effective (and safe) load transfer to the ground.

              • SSD says:

                Can a 300 lbs man wear them?

                • Erik says:

                  The mass of the wearer is not relevant since it is already directly translated through the thickness of the sole.

                  Applying an external load carrying structure directly to the ‘skin’ of the boots (for the lack of a better term) is not possible because the skin of the boots will buckle. Thus, a extra insole (or similar) is needed, which you see here.

                  Note that placement of the contact patch (where the external structure transfers the load to the ground) influences gait significantly.

                  • SSD says:

                    While I’ve watched a wearer contort his body in a variety of poses, the system still restricts some movements. You have to learn how to walk with any exoskeleton, whether it’s a full powered suit or a drop foot brace. But remember, this system lacks power. In the biological form, that power is musculature. While this mimics our body structure, it isn’t an exact copy. Our muscles don’t directly power the metal joints.

                    • Erik says:

                      Thanks for the info

                      The biggest challange for exoskeleton design is to be able to mimic the human joints without having a enormously complex and heavy structure. Especially the hips are very complex to mimic with a compact structure.

                      You can also try to bypass the joints but then collision or interference is a big risk

                    • SSD says:

                      Yeah, look at how the hips work. They slide on a track around the waist, allowing the pivot.

    • bloke_from_ohio says:

      I wonder if having the plate run down inside the boot would be uncomfortable? Based on the photos is looks like a metal arm (or is it a leg?) runs inside the boot along side the inside of your lower leg and ankle. My imediate thought is ouch, but I have been wrong before.

  8. Kango says:

    Canadians need this the most because of all the shitty overweight, outdated gear they’re given.

  9. Bruce says:

    So, we’re not quite at the stage of the outfit Ripley wore in the “confrontation” near the end of “Alien”.

    • SSD says:

      The powered suits which are being created for other industries are moving in that direction.

  10. Airborne_fister says:

    Ok so your seated. How Dow you get up off the ground? Is it like a paratrooper getting ready to load a bird after sitting on the tarmac for 8 hrs? Buddy lift? Or just roll over and hope your leg straps don’t get caught up in anything?

    • SSD says:

      This isn’t a parachute harness. There’s nothing flopping around. You stand up however you would with that load on. If you’ve got a pack you’ll have to get up from the knee. Otherwise, you just stand up.

  11. da costa ramos josé says:

    excellent une grande avancée dans le milieux militaire mais également dans des application civil et médical

  12. Is this unit available for me to purchase ,I am mobile crippled disabled I have a bone that has broken threw the fecal sack of my spine and is pushing on my spinal cord, it’s just a matter of time before my physical demise, I’m not good with it but I accept the systimatic outcome of my limited movement now and then,I guess what I’m asking is will your company sell me this fine piece of technology without any liability on your behalf,I take all responsibility and would greatly honor then opportunity to have this unit come into play in my life, your truly Kenneth Scott Lyles