Coolest wearable technology: Robot suits for physical labor

Last year, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Engineering tested robotic suits that give workers superhuman strength to handle heavy objects at its facility in Okpo-dong, South Korea, according to a recent report in the New Scientist.

In the tests, the suits made it easier for the workers to lift and carry 30-kilogram (slightly more than 66 pounds) objects, although the researchers told the New Scientists that the current target is to extend the lifting capacity to 100 kilograms, slightly more than 220 pounds.

Although the suits themselves weigh about 62 pounds, they’re designed to anticipate and respond to the wearer’s physical movements so they never feel like they’re trying to move around in a massive exoskeleton. The prototype of the suit holds a three-hour battery life, which is already quite impressive – three hours of more efficient work with heavy material could open up much more time for the workers to complete their other tasks – and comes equipped with other tools for lifting and manipulating heavy objects.

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Network World Colin Neagle