The Powered Jacket MK3 may not have been real, but it was only a matter of time before someone fashioned an exosuit designed to give the human body a powerful boost. 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 220 pounds and run at speeds up to 5 miles per hour. A smaller version, the Power Loader Lite, will let the wearer lift 110-132 pounds, Activelink said. The suits will be juiced 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 Power Loader appears to be a full-body version of creations like the battery-powered robotic Titan Arm, which won the 2013 James Dyson Award. The Titan Arm augments arm strength by 40 pounds, helping rehabilitate people with back injuries and assisting those lifting objects as part of their daily work, particularly in construction or delivery jobs.
The price for Panasonic's strength suit is currently projected to be 500,000 yen (around $4,940), although whether this is for the Power Loader or Power Loader Lite is unclear. Either way, it seems pretty inexpensive, all things considered. Panasonic says it wants to bring the suits to market in 2015.
Check out Panasonic's project out in action below.
(Source: Crave Australia)