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Tokyo Students Design a New Robotic Muscle Suit

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the we-can-make-it-better dept.

Hardware 55

angry tapir writes "Students at Tokyo's University of Science have developed a new version of their muscle suit, a wearable robotic suit that assists the muscles when carrying out strenuous tasks. The original version of the suit, which has been in production for several years, provides assistance to the arms and back but the new version provides assistance to the back only. That means it is lighter and more compact than the original model."

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The cat has not my tongue. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30233564)

http://britfa.gs/ [britfa.gs]

progression from muscle shirts (2, Funny)

Blue Shifted (1078715) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233602)

when i was a teenager and actually had muscles, i thought i was cool in a "muscle shirt". now that i'm old and have no muscles and a beer belly, i can wear a muscle suit! with a "power" tie, of course...

Re:progression from muscle shirts (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233624)

Yeah, I bet RMS says the same thing.

Re:progression from muscle shirts (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233656)

RMS never had muscles. He's a nerd, after all.

Re:progression from muscle shirts (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233894)

You had muscles? Hand over your geek card now!

Re:progression from muscle shirts (2, Funny)

Blue Shifted (1078715) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233974)

well, i look at the past with beer goggles too.

Re:progression from muscle shirts (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30234786)

Some of us were lucky and got the genetics to have muscles without needing to work out beyond typing at a keyboard and lifting heavy CRTs.

But won't this mean... (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233632)

...that I have to get up off my backside to put it on? Does it involve being "outside"?

Re:But won't this mean... (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235104)

...that I have to get up off my backside to put it on? Does it involve being "outside"?

Not very far outside, unless they make that power cord much longer than it currently is.

Re:But won't this mean... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#30236436)

That depends if the suits can eventually evolve energy condensers [wikipedia.org]

Huh? 15kg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30233646)

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I'm pretty sure I and most people would be able to bend down and lift the 15kg without robotic assistance...

Re:Huh? 15kg? (5, Insightful)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233674)

I believe this is more marketed to those unfortunates who can't, like the elderly or muscle-damaged.

Re:Huh? 15kg? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30233872)

The article does say "Such suits are being developed with an eye on assisting the physically challenged and workers carrying out physically demanding jobs."

Re:Huh? 15kg? (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235544)

What is this "article" of which you speak?

Re:Huh? 15kg?Christmas gifts,shoes,handbags.ect... (0, Troll)

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Re:Huh? 15kg? (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30237308)

From TFA comments:

"In a demonstration of that model on Wednesday a student was asked to carry 10-kilogram bags of rice. With the suit switched off he could manage up to three bags before they started to get too heavy to carry, but with the suit switched on another two bags could be loaded into his arms."

He could carry 66 lbs without the suit, and 110 lbs with the suit.

structural support? (5, Interesting)

DavMz (1652411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233688)

It provides muscular support, but what about structural support?

I suffered from a slipped disk last year, and how much it was safe to carry was not limited by muscular strength, but by how much my back could take.

Pretty Impressive (5, Informative)

KazW (1136177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233696)

The student demoing the suit could do 30kg (~66lb) on his own, and 50kg (~110lb) assisted by the suit, that's a 60% increase in lifting capacity... Maybe MJOLNIR armor isn't too far off... Dibs on serial # 117.

P.S. I mean something that looks more kickass than this: http://dvice.com/archives/2007/01/reallife_halo_suit_is_develope.php [dvice.com]

Re:Pretty Impressive (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233922)

I'd still want that HALO suit. Think he's gonna make a civilian version? Or... well, any at all?

Re:Pretty Impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30234354)

Yes, and if he finds the hidden crystal/code/disk left to him by his dead/missing/captured father/uncle/grandfather, he can activate the machine's hidden power/super mode/true form to quadruple that increase. Don't ask how software can physically change hardware, it just does.

Re:Pretty Impressive (1)

halltk1983 (855209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30237770)

It doesn't change the hardware, simply removed the limitations present in the firmware.

A Good Response to an Aging Population (0, Offtopic)

reporter (666905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233722)

Most Japanese do not subscribe to the American idea that the only way to "fix" an aging population is to open the doors on immigration. So, despite the fact that the percentage of elderly people in the Japanese population continues to steadily increase, Tokyo has restricted immigration and demanded that those who do immigrate must assimilate into Western culture and, specifically, Japanese culture.

This muscle suit will fit the aging Japanese quite well. As a person progresses beyond 60 years of age, her mobility and strength decline rapidly. This suit will help to compensate for the declination.

On a side note, observe that Japan has long challenged conventional wisdom in the USA. In addition to proving that massive uncontrolled immigration is not the only answer to an aging population, the Japanese have proven the following.

1. Class size is not the prime determinant of academic success. Culture is the prime determinant. (The average number of pupils in a typical high-school class in Japan is much larger than the number in California.)

2. Massive importation of foreign engineers is vital to being competitive in engineering. (Japanese companies, which typically hire only native-born Japanese, hold the majority of patents in LCD displays.)

3. A military solution can transform a backward, ignorant society into a 1st-world society. (The Japanese military transformed Taiwan into a modern society. Under Japanese colonial rule, attendance in public school up to the 6th grade was mandatory; many Taiwanese eventually obtained postsecondary degrees from elite Japanese universities. The military solution was possible in Iraq; the Americans failed because they refused to enact a military draft supplying the 400,000 troops needed for a long-term military occupation and colonial rule.)

You may be shocked by point 3, but I challenge you to study the history of Taiwan under Japanese colonial rule. If the Chinese army under Dictator Chiang-kai Shek had not seized Taiwan in the late 1940s and destroyed much of what the Japanese -- with cooperation from the Taiwanese -- had built, then Taiwan would have been the post-war economic and hi-tech superpower of the Pacific long before the Japanese economic titan appeared in the 1970s.

Re:A Good Response to an Aging Population (0, Offtopic)

reporter (666905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233740)

In the above article, I made a serious typing error. The following statements in point 2
2. Massive importation of foreign engineers is vital to being competitive in engineering. (Japanese companies, which typically hire only native-born Japanese, hold the majority of patents in LCD displays.)

should be changed to the following.

2. Massive importation of foreign engineers is NOT vital to being competitive in engineering. (Japanese companies, which typically hire only native-born Japanese, hold the majority of patents in LCD displays.)

Re:A Good Response to an Aging Population (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30233772)

Typo or not, it's still an off-topic rant.

Re:A Good Response to an Aging Population (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30233836)

No it's not. Reporter displays remarkable insight. Have you seen what the spics have done to California? Have you seen the effect of hiring cheap, imported stinkies to work in our engineering departments? Have you seen how many obese, lazy fuck-up kids are in our public schools? Japan is the most advanced society on the planet.

I suggest you bend over and allow me to ejaculate in your ass and bonk you over the head with a stooge hit. Your breath smells like Commander Taco's penis.

Re:A Good Response to an Aging Population (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30233996)

I really should not ask, but how do you know what his penis smells like?

Video here (4, Informative)

angry tapir (1463043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233744)

There's also a video of it in action here [idg.com.au] . (It wasn't up when I originally submitted the story.)

cheers,
A. Tapir.

15kg? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233756)

Man! Those are some heavy pillows!

Re:15kg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30233818)

Yeah! You should see the girls who use them for pillow fights at their sleepovers!

Re:15kg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30234236)

Can....can I?

Variety? (1)

trytoguess (875793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233770)

This is great and all, but surely there are other nerd worthy things going on in Japan besides robo muscle suits?

Color me Unimpressed (3, Informative)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233798)

That student really could not hold 110lbs of rice?

REALLY?

I'm calling shenanigans

Re:Color me Unimpressed (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30233918)

The japs are pussies you know. "he have such tiny penis." and all...

Re:Color me Unimpressed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30234514)

You better pay attention dumbass, thats the kind of suits that we will wear the day we'll invade you and RAPE your morbidly obese asses you worthless and intellectually challenged American parasite.

Re:Color me Unimpressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30233934)

He couldn't do the metric conversion in his muscles, that's all. Cut the kid some slack.

Re:Color me Unimpressed (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30234858)

That student really could not hold 110lbs of rice?

REALLY?

I'm calling shenanigans

Dude looks like he weighs about 50 kilos. They don't have quite the same emphasis on body building in high school / university as you seem to in America. I always wondered about that ('why is it that in TV shows, American high school guys look like they're all 25-year-old weightlifters') until I realised that you actually do weight training as part of your curriculum.

Of course, no amount of bench pressing to make your pecs look bigger will ever make you stronger than a mecha suit. :P

Re:Color me Unimpressed (1)

kitezh (1442937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30239148)

When I first saw the photos, I though he was carrying around a bunch of pillows.

Going backwards... (0, Redundant)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30233988)

Considering this 'new' suit is just an old suit with the arms removed doesn't really qualify as an advancement.
I would even consider the loss of capability combined with no additional advantages a setback rather than advancement.

By their logic, If I took a 3 year old computer, removed the second drive and cut the memory in half, that would be a new computer with the advantages of lower cost and weight...

Sorry, but removing the arms from a power suit just degrades it's support & enhancement capabilities way too much. That student needs to go back to class.

Excellent tool for finding Sarah Connor (5, Funny)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30234002)

This invention may someday prove to be useful for killing Sarah Connor.

Re:Excellent tool for finding Sarah Connor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30238824)

nah, more likely to help fight of Aliens.

That said, its the one made by Cyberdyne systems your thinking of;
http://www.cyberdyne.jp/English/
Which is, amazingly, very much real and already being rented out.

Not just disabilities. (1)

mano.m (1587187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30234046)

"a wearable robotic suit that assists the muscles when carrying out strenuous tasks" So while it can help people with weak or disabled muscles regain more of their strength (if not now, then in the future), it might also be great for heavy labour like hauling things. I think a lot of companies would pay to have this as part of a regular work uniform like hard hats and boots, if only to duck the insurance claims.

Re:Not just disabilities. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30237516)

However, I think maybe With its greater assistance the original version of the suit will remain the most useful for heavier tasks.

I'm going to wait this version out. (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 4 years ago | (#30234068)

Everything Japanese is better when it is the "From Space" version. Maybe they will add some guns or wings to it by then.

Do you really need a whole body suit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30234130)

I mean, what's the point in getting more than the right arm of this pneumatic goodness?

So its new but worse (1)

Fotograf (1515543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30234174)

good job.

I for one welcome our new Iron Man overlords... (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30234198)

...we will be assimilated without resistance.

Ouch (1)

naich (781425) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235232)

I wouldn't want to be lifting something heavy if one of those suits broke and dumped the entire weight of the load on me.

Same is true of any machine... (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235418)

"I wouldn't want to be lifting something heavy if one of those suits broke and dumped the entire weight of the load on me."

Same is true of any machine, so what's new? I wouldn't want to be under my auto if the jack holding it up broke, or lifting bags of cement with a JCB if that broke. Not sure of your point beyond "machines need to be tested and proved to be safe before being sold to people"?

Re:Same is true of any machine... (1)

naich (781425) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235644)

Fair point, but the JCB, fork-lift, jack etc., is doing the work by proxy, i.e. you are not in intimate contact with the load in the way you are with this suit. If a JCB fails you'd have to be unlucky to be underneath the load. If this suit fails, you WILL get the load dumped on you.

Re:Same is true of any machine... (1)

halltk1983 (855209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30237844)

When cranes break, the results are catastrophic, often not only to the operator, but also those around them. However they allow for more work to be done, more safely, by smaller crews, so they are frequently used. This could easily be similar.

You shouldn't use your back to do lifting anyway (1)

Liambp (1565081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235906)

Anyone who has ever done manual handling course will know that you aren't supposed to use you back to lift things. You should squat with your back straight and use the leg muscles to do the work. This machine may reduce the load on the back but the picture clearly show the guy bending over in what would normally be considered an "unsafe lifting" position.

Re:You shouldn't use your back to do lifting anywa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30236780)

There is no "safe" lifting position. Even if you squat and lift, your lower back takes most of the load, just as in the case of bend and lift. The only difference is your leg muscles are more likely to be well developed than you back muscles; the damage you may cause yourself is about the same.

+5 STR, +5 CON (2, Funny)

beatsme (1472991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30236086)

Because the Old Robotic Muscle Suit we've been using all this time just isn't good enough anymore.

Tokyo... robotic suit... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30236904)

I sure hope this guy doesn't work for Genom!

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