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"Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way."
- Robert Heinlein

Powered Armor (or Powered Suit)  
  An armored suit that magnifies the power of the soldier's muscles, along with other weapons.  

How can you fight alien bugs with superior strength and agility, not to mention a tough endoskeleton. Why, with your own powered "endoskeleton," of course.

Our suits give us better eyes, better ears, stronger backs (to carry heavier weapons and more ammo), better legs, more intelligence (in the military meaning...), more firepower, greater endurance, less vulnerability.

A suit isn't a space suit - although it can serve as one. it is not primarily armor - although the Knights of the Round Table were not armored as well as we are. It isn't a tank - but a single M.I. [Mobile Infantry] private could take on a squadron of those things and knock them off unassisted...

...Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla, armed with gorilla-sized weapons.

The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin.

The secret lies in negative feedback and amplification.

From Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons in 1959
Additional resources -

Here's how it works, minus the diagrams. The inside of the suit is a mass of pressure receptors, hundreds of them. You push with the heel of your hand; the suit feels it, amplifies it, pushes with you to take the pressure off the receptors that gave the order to push.
You're a bit late to make the deadline, but here is the request for proposals from DARPA for EXOSKELETONS FOR HUMAN PERFORMANCE AUGMENTATION (EHPA):
PROGRAM OBJECTIVE AND DESCRIPTION:

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting innovative research proposals on Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation (EHPA). The overall goal of this program is to develop devices and machines that will increase the speed, strength, and endurance of soldiers in combat environments. Projects will lead to self-powered, controllable, wearable exoskeletal devices and/or machines.

Heinlein borrowed and expanded on the idea of self-powered space armor from E.E. "Doc" Smith's novels of the late 1930's. I think that the specific idea of controlling it with negative feedback from the wearer's own movements is Heinlein's.

Also, note that the powered suit has a heads-up display.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Starship Troopers
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Starship Troopers
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Powered Armor (or Powered Suit)-related news articles:
  - DARPA Wants Exoskeletons
  - HAL-5 Robot Suit
  - HAL Robotic Suit Ready For Production
  - Power Pedal Exoskeleton From Matsushita
  - Sarcos Exoskeleton Video
  - Human Universal Load Carrier Exoskeleton From Berkeley Bionics
  - Robotic Suit For Farmers In Japan

Articles related to Armor
DIY Taser-Proof Clothing
Look Great In Your Garrison Bespoke Bulletproof Suit
Bionic Body Armor Makes You Dodge Bullets
Designer Bulletproof Fashion

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