(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)
Panasonic subsidiary Activelink has a powered exosuit in the works that it wants to bring to market in 2015.
The Powered Jacket MK3 may not have been real, but it was only a matter of time before someone designed an exosuit designed to give the human body a powerful boost in ability. It looks like Panasonic's robotics research arm Activelink might be first out of the gate to bring the kind of thing we've only really seen in science fiction to the consumer market.
The company is reportedly working on a machine it calls the Power Loader — yes, named after the Caterpillar P-5000 Powered Work Loader from the Alien films — a robotic exosuit designed to give the wearer superhuman strength.
The Power Loader will enable a human to lift up to 100 kilograms and run at speeds up to eight kilometres per hour. A smaller version, the Power Loader Lite, will enable a human to lift up to 50-60 kilograms, Activelink said. They will be powered by lithium-ion battery packs that will provide several hours' worth of power.
The power loader, the company thinks, will be initially deployed in construction work, nuclear power plants and emergency situations — but it has big plans for the future. Activelink would like to develop an exosuit that can fit under a spacesuit or diving gear for underwater and space exploration purposes.
The price is currently projected to be ¥500,000 (around AU$5585), although whether this is for the Power Loader or Power Loader Lite is unclear. Either way, it seems pretty inexpensive.
Check it out in action below: