Panasonic recently revealed plans to sell a consumer-grade robotic exoskeleton suit later this year. The Assist Suit AWN-03 is designed to help manual labor workers lift heavy objects with less strain, thus potentially reducing the risk of long-term injury.
The futuristic suit was developed by Panasonic subsidiary Activelink. Weighing just 13 pounds, the Assist Suit attaches to the back, thighs and feet of its wearer and helps them lift an additional 33 pounds. Panasonic says it’s best suited for people weighing between 110 and 176 pounds.
Recent advancements in the field of technology have enabled us to bring all sorts of sci-fi creations to life. Up until just recently, true virtual reality was little more than a pipe dream and hoverboards only existed in the movies. Heck, we've even sent a space probe to the outer reaches of our solar system.
Robotic limbs aren’t entirely new as they’ve been used in the medical field as prosthetics for years. Even exoskeletons have been utilized by the military and in the medical field but Panasonic’s creation is one of the first being made available to the average consumer.
Panasonic spokesperson Mio Yamanaka said his company expects exoskeletons, or power-assist suits, will be widely used in people’s lives within the next 15 years for all sorts of tasks that require physical strength. A few of the examples Yamanaka cited include agriculture, forestry and construction work.
The Assist Suit AWN-03 is expected to retail for around $8,000 when it goes on sale in September.