Remember the scene in the first Alien movie where Ripley fights the Queen baddie using a semi-robotic lifting machine? Well, it looks like that technology is getting closer to real-world applications. Inventor Steven Jacobsen is showing off a prototype of his device, and is working with robotics gurus Sarcos to make it a production reality.
Strap it on, go for a walk on the treadmill or up and down stairs while carrying a 90-kilogram load on your back, and it feels as if you’re carrying nothing, says Jacobsen. You can even balance on one foot with a person on your back and barely feel any more fatigued than if you were standing by yourself, he adds. The exoskeleton adds strength because it stays in parallel with the user’s legs and pushes on the ground.
Military uses seem to be first in line for this device, but I can think of lots of other uses for it in industry, construction, even in nursing homes — anywhere lifting and lifting-related injuries are involved. I don’t think they’ll have one ready for my backyard landscaping project though.