Ever since Ripley took down the queen alien with that powerloader exo-suit, the idea of robot-aided lifting devices has entered the public consciousness. Well, it entered mine anyway. But who wouldn’t want to stomp around in an exo-skeleton that gives you the strength of a thousand bears?
Thankfully, science has prevailed and the New Scientist reports that Professor Hiroshi Kobayashi and his team at the Tokyo University of Science in Japan have developed cybernetic exoskeletons, which are scheduled to be released commercially next year. So no more straining your back picking up boxes when moving house. There are two versions, one to aid the arms and back with heavy lifting which weighs 9.2 kg and the second, a lighter 5 kg version aimed at the nursing industry to help lift people in and out of bed.
This is a musclesuit the Tokyo University of Science demoed in 2009
The article explains that while exoskeletons are not new, many never achieve a commercial release because they often have problems with generating enough power, but Kobayashi’s suit will avoid this because, instead of using heavy electric hydraulics, it has lightweight pneumatic artificial muscles (PAMs). So this time next year, we could all be iron men and women.
[via New Scientist]