Engineers Develop “Iron Man” Suits – Coming to Factory Floors

Full-body exoskeletons will give workers super strength. What’s the most important things for people to know about the full-body exoskeleton, which can turn an assembly-line worker into a superhero?  

Engineers have been working on this wearable robotics technology since 2000, when engineers began cobbling together experimental super-soldier suits for the U.S. Military. A 2010 prototype, which enabled the wearer to punch through wooden boards, earned the nickname “Iron-Man Suit” in the homage to the high-tech gear in the eponymous comic book and movies. But that bulky version kept the user tethered to the wall by a power cord, something that would presumably interfere with superhero activities and the suit remained in R&D. 

Finally, the suit is coming out with a commercial exoskeleton named: The Guardian XO. Wolff says the sleek battery-powered suit will be ready at the endo of 2019. It’s intended not for the battle field but rather for the industrial setting such as factory floors, constructions sties, and mines, where it can provide a substantial return on investment by boosting worker productivity and decreasing injuries. 

The Engineering Team made breakthroughs in power management that enabled them to build a practical and reasonably priced suit. Engineers are finally at the point where the exoskeleton’s capabilities coupled with make it a viable product. 

The XO will be available in two models: Workers wearing the basic XO will be able to repeatedly- hoist 78lbs without strain, while those wearing the heavy-duty XO=Max will easily lift a 198 load. Each model has a battery that last for up to 8 hours and can be quickly swapped out. 

The time maybe now right for exoskeletons to proliferate in the workplace Engineers say. A pilot project was conducted in 2017 at Ford Motor CO and last year Ford expanded the trial to 15 Factories around the world. 

As the technology has matured over the past decade, he says market conditions have become more favorable. There is a real incentive for companies to invest in the workforce and make people more productive. 

The Recent engineering advances in the Lab came from studying the human body’s energy conservation strategies. Consider the biomechanics of walking, for example. Not every muscle requires energy at every moment; there are parts of each step where the gravity does the work. Translating that lesson to an exoskeleton mean the suit doesn’t have to power up every joint continuously, and that means a longer battery life. 

The suit was designed for any application, but rather wanted to help people perform all manner of tasks. A user manages and XO via s system that Sensors throughout the suite recognize how the wearer is moving his or her limbs, enabling the suit to instantly mimic the speed, force, and direction of these movement. The suit moves along with you; you don’t have to think about how to use it. 

Companies that are ready to put their money down anyway will be signing on for a a robot as a service package, in which will deliver the Guardian XOs, install the docking station, and frequently visit the clients facility for suit maintenance repairs and upgrades. The cost of an XO package is roughly the equivalent to a fully loaded, all cost includes, $25 per hour employee. Companies will save money by investing in XOs, exoskeleton will improve a work’s productivity by four to eight times, and will reduce injuries to boot. Think about putting an Exoskeleton Robot on your Payroll? 

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