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Tokyo Students Design a New Robotic Muscle Suit 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-can-make-it-better dept.
angry tapir writes "Students at Tokyo's University of Science have developed a new version of their muscle suit, a wearable robotic suit that assists the muscles when carrying out strenuous tasks. The original version of the suit, which has been in production for several years, provides assistance to the arms and back but the new version provides assistance to the back only. That means it is lighter and more compact than the original model."
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Tokyo Students Design a New Robotic Muscle Suit

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  • when i was a teenager and actually had muscles, i thought i was cool in a "muscle shirt". now that i'm old and have no muscles and a beer belly, i can wear a muscle suit! with a "power" tie, of course...

  • ...that I have to get up off my backside to put it on? Does it involve being "outside"?
    • by Fred_A (10934)

      ...that I have to get up off my backside to put it on? Does it involve being "outside"?

      Not very far outside, unless they make that power cord much longer than it currently is.

  • structural support? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DavMz (1652411) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:04PM (#30233688)
    It provides muscular support, but what about structural support?

    I suffered from a slipped disk last year, and how much it was safe to carry was not limited by muscular strength, but by how much my back could take.

  • Pretty Impressive (Score:5, Informative)

    by KazW (1136177) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:05PM (#30233696)
    The student demoing the suit could do 30kg (~66lb) on his own, and 50kg (~110lb) assisted by the suit, that's a 60% increase in lifting capacity... Maybe MJOLNIR armor isn't too far off... Dibs on serial # 117.

    P.S. I mean something that looks more kickass than this: http://dvice.com/archives/2007/01/reallife_halo_suit_is_develope.php [dvice.com]
  • Video here (Score:5, Informative)

    by angry tapir (1463043) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:16PM (#30233744) Homepage
    There's also a video of it in action here [idg.com.au]. (It wasn't up when I originally submitted the story.)

    cheers,
    A. Tapir.

  • Man! Those are some heavy pillows!

  • This is great and all, but surely there are other nerd worthy things going on in Japan besides robo muscle suits?

  • Color me Unimpressed (Score:4, Informative)

    by phantomcircuit (938963) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:29PM (#30233798) Homepage

    That student really could not hold 110lbs of rice?

    REALLY?

    I'm calling shenanigans

    • by fractoid (1076465)

      That student really could not hold 110lbs of rice?

      REALLY?

      I'm calling shenanigans

      Dude looks like he weighs about 50 kilos. They don't have quite the same emphasis on body building in high school / university as you seem to in America. I always wondered about that ('why is it that in TV shows, American high school guys look like they're all 25-year-old weightlifters') until I realised that you actually do weight training as part of your curriculum.

      Of course, no amount of bench pressing to make your pecs look bigger will ever make you stronger than a mecha suit. :P

    • by kitezh (1442937)
      When I first saw the photos, I though he was carrying around a bunch of pillows.
  • by meerling (1487879)
    Considering this 'new' suit is just an old suit with the arms removed doesn't really qualify as an advancement.
    I would even consider the loss of capability combined with no additional advantages a setback rather than advancement.

    By their logic, If I took a 3 year old computer, removed the second drive and cut the memory in half, that would be a new computer with the advantages of lower cost and weight...

    Sorry, but removing the arms from a power suit just degrades it's support & enhancement capabilities
  • by mykos (1627575) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @12:09AM (#30234002)
    This invention may someday prove to be useful for killing Sarah Connor.
  • "a wearable robotic suit that assists the muscles when carrying out strenuous tasks" So while it can help people with weak or disabled muscles regain more of their strength (if not now, then in the future), it might also be great for heavy labour like hauling things. I think a lot of companies would pay to have this as part of a regular work uniform like hard hats and boots, if only to duck the insurance claims.
  • Everything Japanese is better when it is the "From Space" version. Maybe they will add some guns or wings to it by then.
  • ...we will be assimilated without resistance.

  • by naich (781425)

    I wouldn't want to be lifting something heavy if one of those suits broke and dumped the entire weight of the load on me.

    • "I wouldn't want to be lifting something heavy if one of those suits broke and dumped the entire weight of the load on me."

      Same is true of any machine, so what's new? I wouldn't want to be under my auto if the jack holding it up broke, or lifting bags of cement with a JCB if that broke. Not sure of your point beyond "machines need to be tested and proved to be safe before being sold to people"?

      • by naich (781425)

        Fair point, but the JCB, fork-lift, jack etc., is doing the work by proxy, i.e. you are not in intimate contact with the load in the way you are with this suit. If a JCB fails you'd have to be unlucky to be underneath the load. If this suit fails, you WILL get the load dumped on you.

        • When cranes break, the results are catastrophic, often not only to the operator, but also those around them. However they allow for more work to be done, more safely, by smaller crews, so they are frequently used. This could easily be similar.
  • Anyone who has ever done manual handling course will know that you aren't supposed to use you back to lift things. You should squat with your back straight and use the leg muscles to do the work. This machine may reduce the load on the back but the picture clearly show the guy bending over in what would normally be considered an "unsafe lifting" position.
  • by beatsme (1472991)
    Because the Old Robotic Muscle Suit we've been using all this time just isn't good enough anymore.
  • I sure hope this guy doesn't work for Genom!

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