Building exoskeletons to aid persons or animals is nothing new, and in recent years, we've seen numerous examples of them being built with the use of 3D printing. For those who need them, they can reintroduce some lost capability back into their lives or introduce new-found capability. However, as the US Army has now proven, they can be used for other things, as well. Think Deus Ex-like augmentations.
The result of mechanical engineer Dan Baechle's efforts is MAXFAS, a mechanical arm exoskeleton that's designed to improve the accuracy of a person's gun aim. It's to be used both on and off the field, and offers a variety of benefits to both novice and skilled shooting veteran alike.
For the novice, MAXFAS can help them refine their marksmanship skills quicker, which ultimately revolves around reducing arm and hand shake. A good example of seeing this in action is holding out a laser pointer and pointing it at a target at the other side of a room. Most people are going to have noticeable shake, and that's where the MAXFAS comes in to help out - its motors will automatically alter the exoskeleton to correct the aim.
What's important here is that even after trainees had the exoskeleton removed, their aim was still improved. It's as if MAXFAS trained their muscles to better respond to such strict aiming. On the battlefield, MAXFAS could be worn to simply help give the soldier the best aim possible, and as the unit is composed largely of carbon fiber, it's not going to add much weight (a good thing, as they have enough to lug around).
While MAXFAS has shown strong proof of its benefits in the lab, it might take some time before it can be trusted enough to be used in real missions. Given what it can do, though, it seems likely that we'll definitely be hearing more about it down-the-road.