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Robotics The Military

Exoskeletons For Rent In Japan 226

destinyland writes "Cyberdyne has started renting their exoskeleton body suits in Japan. The mind-controlled wearable machine increases strength and endurance, and rents for $2,300 a month. (Sensors on the skin detect traces of nerve signals from the brain, synchronizing the power suit's movements with the user's own limbs.) New video shows the suits in use on the streets of Tokyo, and the concept may be catching on. DARPA now has a program called Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation 'to develop devices and machines that will increase the speed, strength and endurance of soldiers in combat environments.'"
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Exoskeletons For Rent In Japan

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  • by Kell Bengal ( 711123 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:39AM (#29362597)
    It's not a joke, but it is old news. Other projects like HULC and their ilk have been doing the media rounds for years now. They got a lot of media attention even though they failed at their basic goal - lowering metabolic cost. Since walking in a robot suit with any lag is so much more taxing than walking uninhibited, none of the systems to date have been usable for extended periods of time without operator fatigue*. I suspect that's why we've seen them at all: they were failures.

    Colour me paranoid, but I think the exoskeleton success stories won't be seen in Popular Mechanics until they're already obsolete.

    *Yes, I've worked on robotics exoskeletons, and have spoken with other people who develop them.

  • Re:Muscle atrophy? (Score:5, Informative)

    by 2Bits ( 167227 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @04:52AM (#29363235)

    Not everyone is lazy. I have intervertebral disc problem, and sometimes, it could be pretty nasty, I can't even stand up straight. If I stand or walk over an hour or two, I would have difficulty standing straight, and the lower back all the way to my calf are painful.

    And no, I'm not a couch potato, I exercise twice to three times a week, mainly jogging (go slowly and gradually speeding up, up to 8km in 50 minutes) and swimming (2 to 3km in 1.5 hour) and stretching. And I'm not overweight either (had never been), I weigh 75kg, at 1.78cm tall. So that's pretty ok. If I don't exercise, my problems get worse.

    So this exoskeleton could be a nice thing for me. I just wish it's not that expensive, and not so "borgy" (not that I mind that much). I would love to have one to help me sometimes, which would make life less miserable when the problem arise.

  • Re:Hrmm (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @05:31AM (#29363401)

    No they stop when they get hit by explosives (even the 'invulnerable' abrams) - the people inside are then cooked. Tanks are known as 'pressure cookers' for that reason. Think of at as 'the revenge of the lobsters'

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam