What it's like to drive a mech suit

Tech Industry
[MUSIC] Giant mech suits is something you usually see in sci fi movies or video games, but this mech is very big and very real. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] This is prosthesis an enormous powered exoskeleton that's 15 feet tall, 18 feet wide and weighs 9000 pounds. With a human pilot at the controls it can lift a car, tow a truck or even climb into a dumpster [MUSIC] [MUSIC] Jonathan Tippet is the co founder and chief test pilot at fury on ekso bionics and he's been working on this giant neck since 2010. We've actually built the world's first only real high performance large scale exoskeleton. There are other exoskeleton machines out there, but none are as sort of powerful and dynamic is this one He hopes that prosthesis marks the start of an entirely new sport, neck racing. [BLANK_AUDIO] Imagine a competitive sports league that pits athletes against each other. Wearing these giant high powered neck suits to navigate courses with a series of obstacles. For the past 10 years Tibbett and his crew have been in stealth mode getting prosthesis ready for primetime in British Columbia, Canada. Our technology was developed from the ground up for the purpose of creating an experience for the pilot. So it started around the pilot. The ergonomics of the pilot. The experience of the pilot and the technology grew around them, too. Create the experience that they have when they're piloting the mech. Cradled in an adjustable harness at the center. The pilot controls the mech with their arms and legs, instead of being a bipedal or two legged machine prosthesis has four identical legs that give it stability so it's easy to balance. The pilots arms control the outside legs of the machine and the pilots legs control the inside legs of the machine. You have clamps on your arms, you grip the hand grips, you have clamps on your legs you clip in your feet. So you are completely connected to this exoskeletal control interface. Inside the machine and it's mechanically connected to the four legs of the machine. If the machine can't move, the pilot can't move until you power the whole thing up. And then the exoskeletal control frame picks up the pilot's inputs and amplifies them to the legs. And then as the legs move under hydraulic. Power, their position is translated back to the exoskeleton and the pilot literally feels the position of the machine and how much force they have to put into the legs to make the move. [MUSIC] Prosthesis can walk on just about any terrain, be it snow or gravel. Powered by 550 pounds of custom designed lithium ion batteries, it gets around an hour of runtime that drops to 20 minutes of action if you're going at it full steam, and it's currently gotten up to around 5.6 kilometers an hour, but the goal is to go faster. So to help them get closer to racing fury on exit bionics is developing as sort of training academy. Where wanna be Mech Pilots can learn the ins and outs of controlling prosthesis. The first to take a spin was Cassie Horesh a champion athlete who's gone from skeleton racing to an exoskeleton.>> Driving a skeleton sled for everyone that has never been told. It's you press on the shoulders and you press on the knees. Those are the basics stears in skeleton everything you do will move the sled inside the exoskeleton. The feedback comes from the machine.>> After three days of training she checked off a number of achievements like standing up and even taking a step. Now you'd think well, what's the big deal once you can stand up like can't you just move a foot and take a step but as I said, there's so much weight and transfer transference of weight when you're walking as a person takes forever to learn like babies don't just get up and walk around. So think about it like that. Like you have to learn a new Balance move and you're not doing it yourself. You're doing it from a separate entity within this space. [MUSIC] A big part of learning to pilot, a mech is making mistakes, like falling over while it looks pretty scary from the outside. I've been told it's actually nowhere near as bad as it looks. The actual following did feel frightening, especially once we were standing but I think I have to admit that it was more about while you're watching another human being stare at you on the ground, trying to tell you what to do, and I'm watching these guys who have spent more than a decade putting this beast together and bringing it to life. And here I am thinking like I'm going to break it. Like I'm certain I'm going to break it. And that was more what I was afraid of. It wasn't like a safety fear. It was more like I didn't get insurance on my, my robot skills. Like, I don't know what this is. The risk, of actual injury to the perception of risk of injury is super low. You have huge bumper bars front, which have like half a meter of travel. They soak up the vast majority of any impact. There are sort of wide and out front they'll catch you sideways. They'll catch you forward to catch you backwards. They soak up most of the hit which protects the machine and the pilot inside. The pilot inside has another layer of crushing shock absorption in all three degrees up, down, left and right. So they're sort of suspended within this roll cage. Actually, I say the safest place is inside the machine. It's the people outside have to worry. [MUSIC] While it might be a few years before prosthesis is ready for a full-on race. The team is well aware that there's a whole host of other applications for this machine and they're only just starting to scratch the surface. The funny thing is that we built this machine very specifically for sport and it was designed with massive suspension travel, and it was designed without arms or manipulators because it was for racing. It was for going over obstacles and running around tracks but We haven't even reached the racing point yet. And we've already used it to rescue like three vehicles from the sand or the mud. We used it to trample the contents of our neighbor's dumpster the other day, which is like five feet in the air and we just climbed up and just crushed the load so we can close the lid unexpectedly that It's proving to be quite handy even in its current form. So we're excited about the future. When we start to iterate this thing and get more high performance out of it. [MUSIC] Hot of discovering what else this met could do will come from putting a range of different people in the driver's seat, not just elite athletes. So Fury on Ekso Bionics is opening up the pilot training experience for anyone to have a go. For $2500 you'll get a two hour training session and the opportunity to give feedback as an alpha tester. So my suggestion to anyone getting it professional athlete or otherwise Be rested, and in terms of whatever you're doing physically, don't change anything now. If you gonna get in there and try it, you gonna find out where you're the most weak. My leg strength didn't necessarily serve me, in each and every activity we did. And the biggest and most important thing in my opinion, is just stay calm. Don't rush through the motions, don't try to do more than you need to do, going slower to learn anything. That is that super proprioceptive like is okay. [MUSIC] While we wait from back racing to develop into a fully-fledged. Piloting this large-scale powered exoskeleton is surely the closest thing you'll get to piloting Ripley's power loader from Aliens, and to me that's pretty much the coolest thing ever

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