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Robotics startup Sarcos will rollout industrial exoskeletons this year

By Cal Jeffrey · 9 replies
Jan 4, 2019
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  1. According to IEEE Spectrum, Sarcos Robotics is just about ready to roll out a couple new exoskeletons designed for industrial use. The Guardian XO and Guardian XO Max were built to assist factory, construction, and mine workers to boost their strength and protect them from injuries. The exosuits have been in development for nearly two decades and should be ready for implementation toward the end of 2019.

    The Guardian XO weighs about 50 pounds and can lift around 77 pounds (35kg). While that is not a great effort for a human, the exoskeleton will allow its operator to lift that weight repetitively without tiring. The Guardian XO Max is a heavier unit but is capable of repeatedly lifting loads of around 200 pounds (90kg).

    The suits use what Sarcos calls a "get-out-of-the-way" control system. Sensors within the suit detect the user's movements and mimic the speed, force, and direction in the appropriate limb. This control scheme makes the exoskeletons very intuitive and require minimal training to use.

    "The suit moves along with you; you don’t have to think about how to use it," said Sarcos CEO Brian Wolff.

    Both models are battery powered. The company claims that each unit can last for about eight hours per charge. Power cells can be hot-swapped as well, so there is no need for continuously operating companies to worry about downtime.

    Until now the wearable robots have been confined to Sarcos' R&D labs due to limitations in power management. However, recent breakthroughs have made the technology commercially viable.

    “It’s one thing to make a very expensive robot in the lab,” said Wolff. “We’re finally at the point where the exoskeleton’s capabilities coupled with the economics make it a viable product.”

    Sarcos is planning on implementing a “robot-as-a-service” business model. Companies that sign on will be provided with the exosuits and docking stations installed by Sarcos staff. The firm will also provide ongoing maintenance, repairs, and upgrades in the cost.

    “[The XO package] is roughly the equivalent to a fully loaded, all costs included, $25 per hour employee,” says Wolff regarding the subscription price.

    This may seem like a somewhat high fee, especially since it is more like a rental, and the company never gains equity in the equipment. However, Wolff claims that each exosuit can improve an employee’s productivity four- to eight-fold and will reduce the chance and number of on-the-job injuries.

    Permalink to story.

  2. noel24

    noel24 TS Evangelist Posts: 446   +363

    "Get Away From Her, You B*tch!"
    Reehahs, QuantumPhysics and madboyv1 like this.
  3. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,665   +1,029

    Imagine... an exoskeleton sports with both sexes competing equally - my prediction for 2019...you heard it here (maybe) first.

    ?Should we ask Mark Cuban?
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,586   +3,055

    It looks like a pretty decent start but in the long run the expectation will be for smaller units with greater capacity. Not saying this isn't reasonable, but for the kinds of work that will be wanted they are going to need to be more trim to the human body in order to traverse through smaller opening and have greater sustained lifting/pulling capability ..... but like I said, it is a good start!
  5. senketsu

    senketsu TS Guru Posts: 894   +620

    How long until mainstream in the armed forces? Carry more ammo, dig trenches and fill sandbags like a beast. Logistics, carry and move heavy stuff all day long.
  6. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 832   +339

    Guardians are funded through the dod over the last few decades. Working in a factory seems like a much safer beta area vs. a war zone.
  7. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,159   +1,612

    Reehahs and senketsu like this.
  8. Right side bob

    Right side bob TS Booster Posts: 229   +43

    I was gonna buy myself a new rig soon with a RTX 2080 ti but oh no I gotta get one of these bad boys instead for erm personal use ;).
  9. koblongata

    koblongata TS Booster Posts: 133   +34

    The market for elder people would be 1000x of industrial use.
  10. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,055   +560

    "This may seem like a somewhat high fee, especially since it is more like a rental, and the company never gains equity in the equipment."

    No company gains equity in their forklifts either. They are depreciating assets by nature, just like every other mechanical device that wears down. This is why the fee is so high.

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