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'Iron Man' on steroids: Step into a working 'Appleseed' Mecha

A working, wearable Japanese exoskeleton gets bulked up, thanks to some inspiration from a popular manga series.

Meet the wearable technology I'm most interested in this year.
Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

Last year, Japan's Sagawa Electronics released a powered exoskeleton, the Powered Jacket MK3, with the potential to bring lots of our science fiction and anime fantasies to life. But somehow, being able to see the tiny and frail human at the center of the outsized metal skeleton just doesn't seem imposing enough.

Fortunately, another Japanese company -- Dai-Nihon Giken, manufacturer of lots of anime merchandise -- has stepped in to fill that intimidation gap with armor designed to fit on the MK3 modeled on the Landmate power suits from Shirow Masamune's 22nd century manga saga "Appleseed."

The result certainly helps bring visions of a dystopic future to life. While the armor is made from urethane that isn't likely to stop a well-thrown football, let alone a bullet, it looks slick and doesn't get in the way of the exoskeleton's range of movement.

You can see the whole thing in action below. It turns out to be so imposing, that the top and bottom could only be operated independently, not at the same time, due to space constraints.