Last year in South Korea, ship building workers were wearing robotic exoskeletons, allowing them to walk around with huge sections of metal, pipe work and other objects weighing around 100KG as if they were light as a feather!
The test was operated by one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering at their Okpo-dong facility. The early prototypes proved successful, but the team are now working to improve the exoskeletons for deployment to the general workforce.
The current model will fit anyone between 160 and 185cm tall, and it’s 28 GK frame is constructed from carbon, aluminium alloy and steel, but despite it’s bulky weight, it manages to feel weightless thanks to it’s build-in balancing and lifting systems that carry its own weight for you, allowing you to move freely, or at least until its 3 hour battery life is depleted, in which case you can simply climb out of the suit.
The design is modular too, it can be fitted with a small crane, tools and other equipment to help the worker perform tasks. Worker feedback has been positive so far as it speeds up productivity without causing them strain from lifting, their only gripe is that they now want faster and stronger units, something the team are already busy developing.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen manufacturing modifying humans to help with construction, such as the 3D printed thumb attachments used by BMW, although mech suits are waaaay cooler than what the Germans are using right now.
Thank you NewScientist for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of NewScientist.