This technology addresses the problem of high Total Ownership Cost (TOC) of DoD assets including U.S. Navy Carriers, Surface Ships and Submarines. Labor represents the majority of costs associated with the construction, maintenance, repair and disposal of DoD assets. Technological advances are needed to reduce TOC through increased productivity, improved quality, and a reduction in the costs associated with worker injuries. Exoskeleton-based human augmentation can remove most of the human strain while using hand-tools during construction, maintenance, repair and disposal of DoD assets. This will increase productivity and quality while decreasing injury rates, thus significantly reducing TOC. Although applicable through the entire lifecycle of DoD assets, this technology is initially directed at depot level maintenance and repair tasks, specifically, grinding, blasting, needle-gunning, sawzalls, using heat induction units, hydro-lancing, and painting.
The Navy tested an initial prototype of the Industrial Human Augmentation System (iHAS) for two weeks at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF) in November 2012. This re-design effort will help identify the requirements that must be included in a DoD procurement specification, leading to a draft Purple iHAS Procurement Specification being delivered as part of this effort. The MANTIS must be re-designed for affordability before it will be affordable for use in the Naval Shipyards and military depot markets. The Design for Affordability effort must take into consideration all aspects of the system design, as well as all aspects of the products lifecycle. The system needs to be optimized for cost, safety, weight, comfort, mobility and flexibility.