The Viper is a shape changing, light, soldier carryable robotic platform. Wearable system for carrying and operating the system while remaining mobile. (Elbit Systems)
During my military service I worked in research and development for the special operations unit of the combat engineers, primarily developing robotic platforms to dismantle bombs (I.D.E.s) The Viper was developed by Elbit systems in close cooperation with our unit, where we routinely field tested new tools under development.
In this process, I was responsible for the design and prototyping of the first wearable system for both carrying and operating a robotic system. Until then, even small(er) systems that were carried by pairs of soldiers, one transporting the robot and the other transporting the control tools which were usually configured as a suitcase that needed to be set up and required significant effort to deploy or close if there was a need to move suddenly.
The system I designed consisted of a wearable aluminum structure for carrying the Viper integrated with a miniaturized and rugged computer, communication suite, and portable power supply. This was designed to be worn on top of specialized body armour integrating the systems controls and heads up display on helmet, combined with all the regular and necessary equipment of a combat soldier in the field.
It was a particular challenge to create a wearable system that was lightweight, comfortable, allowing multiple functions to be easily accessed. This, all while allowing for the first time quick and easy context switching for the operator between controlling the Viper to being actively engaged in their surroundings. It is unnecessary to explain why it is often imperative for soldiers to move quickly and be unencumbered by complex and bulky equipment.