Sarna News: Bad 'Mechs - Hoplite

Exoskeleton

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"From the dawn of history mankind has used machines to accomplish tasks that are beyond human strength and endurance. However, these forklifts, cranes, and other machinery were bulky and unwieldy. The development of the exoskeleton came from the need for equipment that could maneuver as easily as a human.

"Primitive exoskeletons used hydraulics, but these high-maintenance systems were both slow and clumsy. Exoskeleton construction was revolutionized at the end of the twenty-fourth century by the introduction of myomer technology. It had taken decades to shrink Industrial Mech technology down to the point where it could be mounted on a human-sized chassis, but the result sparked an explosion in the adoption of exoskeletons in the civilian sector. The first Star League continued to develop exoskeleton technology, refining the control systems that directed the myomer musculature. Using various sensors to detect the motion of the user, the on-board computer then translated these into signals that controlled the exoskeleton’s movements. As the technological hurdles were cleared, exoskeletons progressed from the more prosaic roles of cargo handling, construction, and mining. Search and rescue, combat engineering, firefighting—the possibilities appeared almost endless.

"As ever, the military were quick to see potential in exoskeletons, and they have served in a support role since their introduction. But it would take the technological wizardry of the Terran Hegemony to develop the first true combat exoskeleton. The existence of the Nighthawk remained one of the SLDF’s most closely guarded secrets and the Inner Sphere remained ignorant of the technology. Faced with the harsh conditions of the Pentagon Worlds and the Kerensky Cluster, the Clans have used exoskeletons extensively. One of these —a submersible exoskeleton used by the Goliath Scorpions— would serve as inspiration for the first battle armor designs.

"Today the ubiquitous exoskeleton is a part of everyday life. Easy to operate and with low maintenance requirements, exoskeletons can be found on even the most impoverished of worlds. Apparently proving that people will bet on anything, the Solaris VII Class I fight circuit pits modified exoskeletons against one another. More then one “Pit Fighter” has gone on to claim the coveted title of Solaris Champion."1

References

1. "Exoskeletons", Technical Readout: Vehicle Annex, (Chicago: FanPro, 2006), 180.