Put on a bionic exoskeleton, science fiction may not be that far

When watching the "Iron Man" and "Avenging Alliance" series of movies, in addition to the wonderful battle plot, what attracts countless people's attention is the cool mecha of Iron Man's generation that is stronger than the previous generation. These mechas are actually mechanical exoskeletons that combine human intelligence with external mechanical power devices to provide people with additional power or capabilities to enhance human functions.

Not only superheroes, but also similar devices in many sci-fi movies, such as "Edge of Tomorrow" and "The Wandering Earth", although these are the settings in sci-fi movies, but compared with Iron Man's mecha, this type of design In fact, it is closer to the development direction of exoskeletons in reality.

▲ Left: "Iron Man": "Edge of Tomorrow" Right: "Wandering Earth", picture from: Douban

German Bionics, a German bionics company, recently launched a new generation of bionic exoskeletons, the fifth-generation Cray X. When a worker uses the device, it is a bit like carrying a 7kg backpack. With hip-mounted brakes, the carbon fiber linkages strapped to the thighs can be moved, allowing a person to easily lift and carry weights of approximately 30 kg (66 lbs) with legs and back supported, while walking Or provide support when climbing stairs.

▲ Picture from: German Bionics

This bionic exoskeleton can be put on and taken off in less than a minute, and is equipped with a hot-swappable 40V battery system. The charging time is about 30-40 minutes. Just take the old battery out and put it on the charger and replace it with a new one. Continuing to use, the device also passed the IP54 standard, waterproof and dustproof, so it can not only adapt to a variety of working environments, but also does not need to take off the exoskeleton during working hours.

▲ Picture from: German Bionics

Additionally, the next-generation Cray X bionic exoskeleton has a Smart Safety Companion (SSC) system, a real-time software application running in the background that collects detailed telemetry information such as the load being lifted, ergonomic risks and potential Environmental factors, etc., and then use machine learning algorithms to analyze these data and display them to workers wearing them through OTA software.

Not only that, but the data is also transferred up the chain of custody, and managers can also monitor the performance of their employees. Norma Steller, head of IoT at German Bionics, said the Cray X can be seen as a "preventive device" that mitigates common lifting injuries and ensures workers aren't overstretched or overworked.

▲ Picture from: cnBeta

For industries such as logistics and freight that need to carry heavy objects, exoskeletons are undoubtedly a device that can effectively improve work efficiency. In fact, the exoskeleton was originally a device that originated in the military field, with the purpose of improving the individual combat capability of soldiers. It can integrate weapons and equipment, communication systems, life support systems, etc., which improves the load capacity and movement speed, so the combat capability and battlefield survivability of soldiers have been significantly improved.

▲ Picture from: BusinessInsider

In addition to the military, another major application area for exoskeletons is medical rehabilitation. With the help of exoskeleton, patients can be rehabilitated. For the elderly and the disabled, the exoskeleton can help restore the ability to walk, and even help the disabled who are paralyzed in bed to stand and walk again, and the quality of life has also been improved.

▲ Picture from: ChinaRobot

As can be seen from the bionic exoskeleton Cray X, industry is also a major application area for exoskeletons. At present, the main function is to "lift, move, and sit", providing protection for users and reducing the damage that repetitive labor may cause to the body.

Although the current exoskeletons do not make us superheroes, the combination of human and machine makes our flesh and blood stronger and life and work easier. Due to cost and technology, the current application of exoskeletons is not extensive, but technology has been advancing, and more possibilities for exoskeletons in the future are worth looking forward to.

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