Science Fiction One Step Closer To Science Fact

You know how Iron Man wears his special suit?  Or some of those anime cartoons where the characetrs have these super power full body armour gizmos?  Remember thinking how cool it would be if you had a super suit?  Well, you’re one step closer to attaining your dream.  Engineers in Japan have created a robot suit that “enhances human power”.  No shit.

Japan has taken a step into the science-fiction world with the release of a “robot suit” that can help workers lift heavy loads or assist people with disabilities climb stairs.

The 15-kilogram (33-pound) battery-powered suit, code-named HAL-5, detects muscle movements through electrical-signal flows on the skinsurface and then amplifies them.

This will reportedly be a big help for the disabled, as the suit can actually move on its own.  Uh-oh..somebody didn’t watch The Matrix.  But seriously, how cool is that?  What I really want to know is how much does it amplify human power.  Just think of the potential this technology represents for policemen.  If engineers can improve the suit to make it flame proof, you’ve got the perfect fire fighter.  I guess some crappy things can come about as well.  I mean, if one of these robots suits were developed to a point where it was as strong as kevlar, yet still lightweight, and gave a shitload of extra power to the wearer, how long do you think it’ll be before it is used in war?  I can just see Israeli soldiers doing a fuckjob in Palestine with these things.  Anyways, it is still super cool and I want one!

16 thoughts on “Science Fiction One Step Closer To Science Fact

  1. Ha! Just wait till the Chinese take over these things in mass-production, enabling them to invade Russia in 2010. The US will get involved, boom. World War 3. (Well, actually it would be the 4th world war, since the 7 years war was the first ‘world’ war, but who’s counting?_

  2. When I first saw James Cameron’s “Alien’s” I just KNEW there was something to the technology of the loader that Ripley fought the Queen Alien in.
    It just looked too practical not to have been developed and ‘leaked’ at some level. I have a feeling that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  3. You can bet DARPA has been studying exoskeletons long time.
    Currently biggest problem is power source.

    One of the currently planned uses would be in support roles, like for medic so that he could carry wounded much better.

    But in the end there’s no limits…
    I bet one of the first roles would be in fire support with .50 BMG weapons using GP Blast/fragmentation/incendiary ammunition (check photos) for AP role and SLAPs againts vehicles, or very heavy antimaterial snipers using 20, 25 or even 30mm ammunition.
    Or how about cleaning buildings, just add some thicker armor and good close range weapons… something like automatic shotguns would be ideal for close range battle in buildings.
    Actually removing human and putting him to the other end of remote control loop would allow even more efficient design.

    http://bleex.me.berkeley.edu/bleex.htm
    http://bleex.me.berkeley.edu/hydextender.htm

  4. I remember seeing this a few years ago, actually, but the person demonstrating it was a female, and she was using it to lift patients out of hospital beds. It was designed for nurses in that particular outing, and appeared as a snippet on the Daily Show.

    I see someone else saw it and had other plans for the design, because the hospital version was much more limited in terms of movement.

    But yeh, these things have probably been in the working prototype phase for at least a decade, and most definitely with the thought to put soldiers in them for invasions, making them super-soldiers.

  5. I’ve always wanted one of those “Redman suits”. They don’t enhance your strength, but you can get hit by a truck or clubbed with baseball bats and not feel a thing.
        The problem with enhancing human power through a suit would be the power source. For any real significant power boost, you would need hydralics and that would make for a really bulky and heavy rig. I don’t think they could get enough power out of any battery to make much of a difference power wise.
        If they manage to make some robotic soldiers, do you think the new bumper stickers for war will read “Support our robots!”. And will we be called unpatriotic if we don’t like the robot wars. Will they tell us we don’t support the robots and that we should move to a country of flesh lovers if we don’t like it?

  6. I’ve been getting Popular Science since 97 and this is not so new.  I’ve seen many versions of exoskeletons in the works.  Mostly for military purposes.  My favorite one, though not a true exoskeleton, was for police and it looked like a power ranger suit.  It even had wrist rockets.  I kid you not.  Fun stuff.

  7. Agreed. Exosuits rock..

    This kind of tech is cool. I always loved
    this kind of stuff. Honestly though it needs to be a long term
    self sustaining environment with more
    than some NimH batteries.. this is where fuel cell
    and inertial power sources come into play.

    The next logical progression in armor.
    Was bound to happen sooner or later.

    I think the prosthetics market is a more noble one though…

    There was a guy who was working on passive neural interfaces
    that could translate between man and machine.. provide feedback,
    neural mapping, etc..

    ..a beautiful thing that will never come to pass with all of the
    red tape out there.

    I want one of these suits.. (just to tear it apart and make it better..
    these guys design this like they wanna be Super 8 Man or some shit.)

    As for the military interests of ours:
    Im certain its out there. Just think of the worlds
    most grossly inefficient project with retarted leadership..
    success? most unlikely.
    spending? astronomical.

  8. Combine this with recent invention of rail funs and you’ve got a super soldier.

    Not to go off subject again, but I posted this entry using my account at SEB (i.e no cpatcha) still I had to post multiple times to get this through. Apparently I had the same problem on my blog that runs on EE as well, and I found out the blacklist that I downloaded from the EE site actually contains IP ranges that might have been used by spammers but belong to ISP. Since the IP are rotated, sometimes I get a banned IP and end up being unable to post to most EE based sites.

  9. There was a guy who was working on passive neural interfaces that could translate between man and machine.. provide feedback, neural mapping, etc..

    If i understand you correctly, there are already workable prototypes of this.  EG:  I think “left” and the mouse moves left.

    rob@egoz.org

  10. I’m assuming that extra 33 pounds of weight is countered by the fact it moves itself, otherwise I wonder about putting it on a disabled person and taking them to a flight of stairs. But if that is the case, what will it do to a person’s body over time? For instance, if a firefighter wore that almost daily, would that firefighter grow weak over time? If the firefighter still has to apply his/her own strength, and the suit merely enhances it, how much help would it offer the disabled?……just wonderin’.

  11. If i understand you correctly, there are already workable prototypes of this.  EG:  I think “left

  12. There is a robotics contest called the Tetsujin that covers this area of robotics.  It’s fascinating and I hope to make an entry in the next year or two.  Tetsujin 2004

  13. Blah, blah, blah.  Wake me up when they design one of these suits that allows me to spend some ‘quality’ time with Elle Macpherson from the comfort of my couch.

    I’m assuming that extra 33 pounds of weight is countered by the fact it moves itself, otherwise I wonder about putting it on a disabled person and taking them to a flight of stairs.

    I can picture some old lady yelling ‘Randolph, did you remember to check your batteries this morning?’

  14. well its been sometime since Ive heard anything about attempts at this [nueral-interfacing] in any fashion.. Mainly because I had read my fill and hadnt cared to look back at any of it in recent time.

    I was being a little coy.  The US (DARPA) has done, literally, tons of R&D on neuralinterfaces.  And, typically, the TRS-80-esque early adopters are running with it:

    http://www.adaptivation.com/cyberlink_interface.htm

    Formal, contract-level projects using this technology are already underway (e.g., subtle, passive stress detection, control of objects inflight/movement).  This is the merely one building block to a neural-web i’ve described elsewhere and how humans will massively communicate together.

    rob@egoz.org

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