|This article is outdated. (October 2013)|
|Headquarters||University of Utah Research Park, Salt Lake City, Utah|
|Products||Microelectromechanical systems, Medical microsystems, Powered exoskeleton|
|Divisions||Robotics, Biomedical engineering|
Sarcos is an American engineering and robotics firm based in the University of Utah Research Park in Salt Lake City, Utah. It specializes in robotics, microelectromechanical systems, medical devices, artificial limbs, and powered exoskeletons. In 2006, Sarcos began receiving increased media attention for developing an exoskeleton, designed to be worn by a human and slated for production in 2008 for the United States Army. In late 2007, American defense contractor Raytheon purchased Sarcos.
Sarcos was founded in 1983 by current head Stephen Jacobsen and operated principally as a bioengineering research institution. By 1992, Jacobsen increased attention to commercial interests such as animated film props, prostheses, and human/computer interfaces. In 2000, Sarcos accepted a grant from DARPA, the research arm of the United States Department of Defense, to develop a design for a powered exoskeleton suitable for military applications. DARPA accepted the Sarcos design in 2006 and the firm began developing prototypes. In November 2007, Raytheon purchased Sarcos for an undisclosed sum, seeking to expand into robotics research and production.
In 2000, DARPA requested design proposals for a powered military exoskeleton. Of the 14 designs submitted, DARPA chose the one submitted by Sarcos. The Sarcos design involves a suit powered by a single engine, including a tank holding 24 hours of fuel, that sits near the wearer's butt. The suit gives the wearer increased strength and endurance through servo motors powered by the engine. The finished suit is named the XOS Exoskeleton and weighs 150 pounds (68 kg). Popular Science reported that the XOS gives wearers the ability to lift 200 pounds (91 kg) "repeatedly with minimal strain". DARPA specifications call for the suit to allow lifting of up to 400 pounds (180 kg), but it is not known whether the XOS meets that criterion.
The army will use initial production models of the XOS for logistics and supply tasks such as repetitive lifting of heavy objects. Future models will have various combat customizations for firing heavy weapons or transporting wounded soldiers.
Since its inception in 1983, Sarcos has produced a wide variety of robotic devices for different applications. It builds undersea salvage robots used by the United States Navy and other units for law enforcement organizations. Sarcos also builds robotic props for films and amusement park attractions. For example, Sarcos has built some of the animated pirates seen in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction appearing at four Disney theme parks, the Wicked Witch of the West audio-animatronic at Disney's Hollywood Studios' The Great Movie Ride, the robotic dinosaurs for Jurassic Park: The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood, and the robotic fountains for the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas.
Sarcos develops artificial limbs that use sensors to detect the subtle skin or muscle movements and translate them into limb movement.
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