The Hacksmith: Crysis Exosuit

By The Hacksmith

If you are familiar with PC games, you may have heard of Crysis — a first-person shooter video game series depicting a soldier wearing a "nanosuit,” which enhances the main character’s physical strength, speed, defense, and more. The Crysis series is often used to benchmark graphics cards due to its intense graphics.

In Crysis, the main character, Nomad, and his team wear nano-muscle suits, which give them superhuman strength. The game takes place in 2020, and although we don’t have nanobots in today’s world (as portrayed in Crysis), that didn’t stop Hacksmith Industries from attempting to make an exosuit with present-day technology.

Pneumatic artificial muscles have been around since the 1950s, and using these muscles (also referred to as PAMs), the Hacksmith team designed part of a suit that can do some serious lifting, mirroring that of Crysis characters. See how it was made in the video below!


How Does it Work?

Pneumatic artificial muscles work by utilizing pressurized air to fill a pneumatic bladder (an inflatable tube). The tube is surrounded by a woven outer shell to give it rigidity. The shell in The Hacksmith’s design is made from stainless steel weaving. When the tube is inflated, it contracts like a human muscle.

Because the muscles are pneumatic instead of hydraulic, they are lightweight, but can’t apply as much force. A PAM is not as strong as a human muscle, but unlike the human body, an exoskeleton made with PAMs is not limited in design. For example, a human bicep is stronger than a PAM attached to a metal arm. However, the metal arm can have multiple PAMs attached to it, similar to having 8 biceps!

The skeletal arm that the PAMs are attached to was made from steel-cut using a CNC machine, and the muscles are powered by a compressed air tank. To control the expansion and contraction of the PAMs, a custom microcontroller PCB was designed and manufactured overseas, controlling several solenoids. The arm also has pressure sensors and a load cell, so the computer knows what the arm is doing. Take a closer look at the circuit design in the schematic below!

Schematic and BOM



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