Exoskeleton gives superhuman strength to its wearer, lifts 100kg

Finally the robotic exoskeleton suits imagined in films like Alien are a proper reality – making humans super strong.

The Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering company tested out the suits previously and has now announced it wants to bring them into production. The exoskeletons will allow workers to lift and manoeuvre heavy materials in the shipbuilding process without the need for large scale machinery.

The exoskeleton fits anyone between 160 and 185 centimetres tall. The suits itself is 28kg and made of carbon, aluminium alloy and steel. But that weight isn't an issue as the suit supports itself and follows the user's movements. The suit has a 3-hour battery life and allows users to walk at normal speeds.

At the moment the suit is in its prototype phase and is capable of lifting 30kg. But lead engineer Gilwhoan Chu says, "Our current research target of the lifting capacity is about 100 kilograms".

The backpack of the suit holds the battery and motors but can be modified to add frames for certain tasks. A frame that arches over the user's head like a small crane is one option. We're imagining Ripley's loader from Aliens.

Daewoo currently has a $1.9 billion contract from shipping giant Maersk to build 10 container ships each at 55,000-tonnes. At 400 metres in length these will be the largest ever built. While 68 per cent of one shipyard is automated by machines there are still people who will benefit from these exoskeletons.

Next stop, exosuit fighting tournaments.

READ: Robotic exoskeleton upgrades will be on sale to the public by 2015



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