Today’s website of the day is a website that offers us a glimpse of the future, courtesy of the Berkeley Robotics Laboratory at the University of California.

We all saw the loaders piloted by Ripley in Aliens and thought “yeah, right”. We all scoffed at the Muscles from Brussels in Universal Soldier and Arnie’s indestructible Terminator’s.

However, the boffins at Berkeley are closer than you might think, especially to the walking forklift from James Cameron’s sci-fi classic. The Bleex is the “Berkeley Lower Extension Exoskeleton” and it allows a human to carry and manoeuvre loads up to 30kg effortlessly. And bearing in mind the Bleex itself weighs nearly 50kg by itself you can start to picture its practical uses.

The military are obviously very interested (and are funding the research) but there are also applications for people with reduced mobility, and although it might look a little inelegant now, we all know the rate of development for new technology once it gets a major corporation interested. And let’s face who’s bigger that the Good Ole Boys at the Pentagon. Watch this space…

Have a good nose around the department’s other projects too – truly fascinating stuff. form


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