Panasonic and subsidiary ActiveLink have developed a new exoskeleton suit that is affordable and could find its way to workers in factories and manufacturing facilities. The new technology has already been tested in Osaka, Japan, and forestry workers are now giving it a try.
The suit, which connects to the back, thighs and feet of the wearer, is just 13 pounds and allows a person to carry an additional 33 pounds. The custom exoskeleton suit features a carbon-fiber motor and sensors able to determine when a person is lifting or carrying a heavy load.
"We expect that exoskeletons, or power-assist suits, will be widely used in people's lives in 15 years," said Mio Yamanaka, spokesperson for Panasonic, in a statement published by the MIT Technology Review. "We expect that they will be used for tasks that require physical strength, such as moving thinks and making deliveries, public works, construction, agriculture, and forestry."
This is just a glimpse of the future for Panasonic, as the company is developing a suit that could be used to increase physical load more than 220 pounds.