The future of heavy lifting
It might seem like science fiction, but with recent advancements in robotics, power cells, and bio-kinetics, the exoskeletons featured in films and comics like Iron Man, Elysium and The Matrix, are closer to home than one might expect.
In what seems to be an irresponsible taunt of fate, a Japanese robotics company Cyberdyne (yes, I’m serious) has developed a robotic suit called the Human Assistive Limb (that’s HAL for short, as in “bicycle made for two”) that assists its wearer in heavy lifting and endurance.
Initially intended to be used by invalids and medical staff, the suit has shown some obvious potential for military and logistics applications. It can be used to greatly increase the wearer’s endurance, making it possible to carry significantly heavier objects, for significantly longer.
Other companies that have latched on to the idea of creating mechanical exoskeletons are the United States (US)-based Lockheed-Martin, which is currently developing the Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC).
Alongside other contenders such as Honda and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the US army is currently developing its second-generation Raytheon XOS 2 exoskeleton, meant for heavy lifting and logistics assistance.
A few years down the line these suits may become commonplace gear for the everyday workforce. Just imagine how smoothly cargo packing will go with a team of operators wearing one of these.
Hopefully, they will come in “hot rod” red.
Have a look at the future here.