It is not uncommon for pistol shooters to notice a slight tremor on their strong side. This tremor is well known and is an involuntary reaction to muscle tension. Now, engineers are working on a device that will eliminate that annoying movement, thus improving accuracy. The device has a ways to go, however, before it will be small enough for routine use.
The device is being built at the Army Research Lab and is designed as an exo-skeletal arm that compensates and eliminates the tremor often seen in pistol shooting. The device is attached to the arm and operates via thin cables and small motors. To date, however, the research on the arm has not been funded, and its creator, Dan Baechle, works on it as he can. The unfunded program is known as MAXFAS.
During past testing, the device was shown to help improve accuracy, especially with new shooters. Once the arm is removed, the steadying effects remain with the shooter for a period of time. Application of the arm for use in combat is well into the future, as the size and complexity of the arm must be reduced before it will be suitable for real-world use. In addition, a much smaller power source will have to be developed. Its main benefit in a combat setting would be improving accuracy for those soldiers who are fatigued and unable to control muscular tremors.
The device is made of carbon fiber, making it very durable and tough. It currently weighs in at about one pound for the actual arm itself, but reducing the weight of the motors is on the to-do list. The cables used to move the arm will also need to be improved as they are considered unwieldy with the current design. One possible future use for the MAXFAS is to have it incorporated into a combat fighting suit which is currently known as the TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit). This is also known as the Iron Man program.
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