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Commercial Exoskeletons

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the whirrr-stomp-whirrr-stomp dept.

Robotics 201

FalconZero writes "For those of you with superhuman aspirations, your dream may be a step closer; New Scientist (recently) and the Japan Times (last year) covered Yoshiyuki Sankai's work at the University of Tsukuba in Japan developing powered exoskeletons with commercial versions expected soon costing between $14,000 and $19,000 (£7,500-£10,000). Other work with exoskeletons previously covered here(1), here(2) and here(3)."

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BLEEX (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197807)

Berkeley has some videos of their BLEEX [berkeley.edu] (Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton) Project on their web page.

Video [berkeley.edu]

I swear that guy in the video is the Star Wars kid, if was making robot noises with his mouth he would have me convinced.

Re:BLEEX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197849)

Everytime that guy in the video took at step I could just imagine something fucking up.. like if the leg were to hyper extend and snap his leg in two.. CRAZY!

OT - BMC Softare to lay off 10% or more this week (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197871)

10% is about 700 people worldwide - article hints at up to 25% layoff

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/3 12 5621

Houston Chronicle - April 8, 2005, 11:46PM

BMC is on the verge of a major shake-up
10 percent of work force could be laid off as software company starts restructuring


IN an effort to remedy lackluster performance, BMC Software is expected to unveil next week a restructuring plan that will include cutting at least 10 percent of its work force, according to current and former employees.

When BMC announced its third-quarter results in February, it came up short of analysts' expectations, and its stock dropped 11.5 percent by that day's closing.

In a conference call with analysts then, BMC President and Chief Executive Bob Beauchamp telegraphed that changes were coming, saying: "We're taking immediate steps to address the cost structure."

Current and former BMC employees, the latter in frequent contact with high-level managers there, say the job cuts will be across the board, including some of its 1,600 Houston employees. BMC has 6,900 employees worldwide.

When asked about the restructuring moves, a spokesperson at BMC said the company won't comment on "speculation and rumors."

Weak sales of Patrol
Analysts who follow BMC are awaiting what they say is a necessary shake-up of the Houston-based company, which makes software for managing and monitoring large computer networks.

"I think in many ways it's going to take something drastic to change things at BMC," said David Rudow, a senior research analyst for Piper Jaffray who favors a restructuring.

Rudow, who is optimistic about BMC, upgraded its stock in mid-March from "market-perform" to "outperform."

"My call is the numbers are going to go up because they are going to have this restructuring," Rudow said.

Rudow and other software industry analysts expect the restructuring to address problems that have plagued sales of BMC's Patrol network-monitoring software.

For example, most of the company's third-quarter woes were blamed on poor license sales of Patrol, which came in at $28 million for the company's recent third quarter, compared with $36 million in the same quarter a year before, a drop of 22 percent..

Software is often sold via license agreements, which authorize customers to use the product for specified periods of time. Much of BMC's income is derived from selling such licenses.

BMC's stock started the year closing above $18; Friday, it ended down down 16 cents at $14.60. In the first half of 2000, it often closed above $40.

In February, Beauchamp fingered the company's sales force, which he said may not have been pushing hard enough to sell Patrol. He also said he might tweak sales incentives to help push the product.

Analysts, however, hope BMC makes Patrol a better and more marketable product.

"There are cheaper solutions out there that do a pretty good job," said Gregg Moskowitz, a senior research analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group in New York. "What I think BMC needs to do is to make Patrol more of a lightweight monitoring tool, in other words, less complex and less expensive."

Along with the job cuts, BMC next week is expected to discuss new technology designed to improve Patrol, sources familiar with the restructuring said.

Much of BMC's product line is geared toward mainframe computers, a market that is largely flat and is expected to remain so for at least one to two years. Wall Street analysts say that reliance, and the shortcomings of Patrol, have been the primary cause for the company's stock performance.

But BMC is banking on a strategy that is taking the high-end software business by storm.

The strategy is called business-service management, a suite of product offerings that lets companies monitor, in real time, server data that show key business activities.

Moskowitz and other analysts say BMC's efforts to drive the strategy, including a string of acquisitions to bolster its product offerings, are encouraging. They point to BMC's 2002 purchase of Remedy, a San Diego company with valuable help desk capabilities.

Ahead of the game
While BMC is considered technologically competitive in business-service management, some believe its main competitors -- IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Computer Associates -- are ahead of the game.

While BMC has 25 years of experience selling complex software to heads of computer departments, the strategy requires a sales force to deal directly with business managers who prefer business lingo to tech talk.

"To do business service management, you have to deal with the business-decision makers and that's really where IBM and HP have an edge," said George Hamilton, a senior analyst with research firm the Yankee Group in Boston."They have big services organizations, and IBM in particular does a lot of business process, management and other stuff. They have a broader set of tools than BMC."

Overall, software industry observers aren't ready to abandon BMC.

"Obviously, they have a storied history, they've been around a while, and they're certainly not going away," Moskowitz said.

Re:BLEEX (1, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 years ago | (#12197962)

What happens when these things go berserk and won't stop? Or they tear off your legs? And how would having stronger lower limbs help you carry heavier loads? You'd still fuck up your back, hips, spine without mechanical assistance there, too.

That being said, I have the idle money for one of these units at the mentioned price, if it is cool enough.

Re:BLEEX (4, Informative)

FuturePastNow (836765) | about 9 years ago | (#12198075)

The load is attached to a frame at the top of the legs, so it adds no weight to the user. They can't tear off your legs because they have the same range of motion as your legs. And it can't "go berserk" because its only control system is the human wearing it. It basically allows a person to carry a heavy load for the same distance they would be able to cover with no load.

At least, that's what I got from reading that site for a few minutes.

Re:BLEEX (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197968)

My lower extremities don't need an exoskeleton, thank you very much. I'm very content with 9 inches.

Re:BLEEX (1)

Louie's Demise (750768) | about 9 years ago | (#12197992)

Probably need an exoskeleton JUST to carry the power source. I bet most of that large pack in the Berkely photo contains batteries, not MRE's. -LD

Re:BLEEX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197999)

Turn the sound up, it sounds like he has a frikkin' Hemi strapped to his back.

Halo? (2, Funny)

bfizzle (836992) | about 9 years ago | (#12197808)

The first step to real life Halo

Re:Halo? (1)

LukeTurner (803739) | about 9 years ago | (#12197828)

That was my 1st thought... Ha ha, get it .... 1st post ... 1st thought ... yeah... But really, how viable is this? I didn't RTFA or anything, but i don't this becoming popular at least until 2020 =)

Re:Halo? (1)

rideaurocks (840805) | about 9 years ago | (#12197984)

I immediately thought instead about infusing adamantium into the human skeleton. Who needs a exoskeleton when your bones are unbreakable?

I guess being the Master Chief would be cool too.

Re:Halo? (2, Insightful)

Mahou (873114) | about 9 years ago | (#12198051)

i imagine getting shot or cut or otherwise receiving damage to your flesh hurts more than damage to your bones. so um, exoskeleton for me please!

Re:Halo? (1)

SoCalAndy (808076) | about 9 years ago | (#12198074)

i imagine getting shot or cut or otherwise receiving damage to your flesh hurts more than damage to your bones.

I guess you've never broken a bone before.

Re:Halo? (1)

Mahou (873114) | about 9 years ago | (#12198113)

yeh but the bone breaking hurts because it tears flesh, right? or wrong? no i havent broken a bone

Re:Halo? (1)

MonkWB (724056) | about 9 years ago | (#12198164)

Or rather, Tribes. Seeing as how Tribes and their exoskeletons were so much more popular then Halo's. Of course...

I for one... (5, Funny)

Master_T (836808) | about 9 years ago | (#12197809)

Welcome our new "bio-cybernic" overlords.

Re:I for one... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197972)

They say the porn industry is always the first to adopt new technology... I for one welcome our robo-porn overlords.

Ok... (4, Funny)

strider44 (650833) | about 9 years ago | (#12197811)

So when do we get mounted guns?

Re:Ok... (5, Insightful)

bensafrickingenius (828123) | about 9 years ago | (#12197827)

"So when do we get mounted guns?"
and get posted on the N/S Korean border?!?! No thanks!

Exoman (4, Interesting)

WeirdKid (260577) | about 9 years ago | (#12197818)

So I was trying to find one *good* Exoman site, and I couldn't find any. (It was a short-lived 1977 TV series about a paralyzed scientist who created his own exo-suit in which he would fight crime yada yada yada).

Re:Exoman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197845)

Sounds a lot like Iron Man to me... Can he see, or is he blind?

Re:Exoman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197854)

Anyone else remember M.A.N.T.I.S. [tvtome.com] ?

Man, that was over a decade ago... jeeze, I feel old...

Eh (5, Funny)

daeley (126313) | about 9 years ago | (#12197826)

God, exoskeletons have been done to death -- see one giant bipedal forklift, you've seen them all.

Get back to me when we have commercial powered endoskeletons. Preferably with the razor-like claw add-on.

Re:Eh (4, Funny)

fireboy1919 (257783) | about 9 years ago | (#12198059)

I don't know that I'd like that.

How would that work, anyway? You can't move if you're not watching commercials?

For that matter, is that even possible? I don't think that scientists have figured out how to tap the energy potential of commercials to the point where they actually generate energy of any kind. All scientists doing that kind of work end up with is the inability to be scientists any longer due to brain atrophy from watching too many commercials.

How about organically powered enhanced endoskeletons? Might be a bit more practical.

Personal issues (5, Funny)

Rixel (131146) | about 9 years ago | (#12197835)

With one of these and a perl script, I don't even have to work at masturbation.

If I can only incorporate that roomba into this...

Re:Personal issues (1)

op12 (830015) | about 9 years ago | (#12197888)

Don't forget to say goodbye to daylight and the outdoors...

...if you haven't already :)

Re:Personal issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197935)

Are you assuming that the robots will find us useful in some way or that we will have to live in caves like the animals we are to hide from the newly evolved robotic species? :)

Re:Personal issues (1)

kai.chan (795863) | about 9 years ago | (#12198063)

I wonder what would happen if that Exoskeleton ran a Microsoft OS . . . Buffer overflow while mechanical hand is clutching : Jump to random instruction . . . Executing clutch and rip . . . Executing slice and dice . . .

RE: Commercial Exoskeletons (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197836)

In Korea, only old people have exoskeletons.

Blame it on Gundam (4, Interesting)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about 9 years ago | (#12197837)

I'm pretty sure that only reason why they're even devising these things is because of Japan's robot anime. You know, some guy jumps into a huge robot and control it through sensors all over his body.

There is some guy here in Japan who is that crazy about the anime that developed his own exo-skeleton to move his toy Mazinga robot around. They had him on TV wearing his Mazinga get up and fighting other geek's toy robots on one of the TV shows here. Apparently there are a lot of these robot hobbyists as well as uni students building these things.

Mazinga, BTW, is a really old anime, but not far removed from the likes of say Gundam, Voltron and a billion and one other ripoffs.

Re:Blame it on Gundam (4, Insightful)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | about 9 years ago | (#12197875)

yeah, I'm sure helping spinal injury victims and the advancement of science and technology has nothing to do with it...

Re:Blame it on Gundam (1)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about 9 years ago | (#12198118)

Oh come on. The only reason why these guys are interested in building these things is because the idea of a robot battle suit captures their imagination.

Incidently, as you say, such an exo-skeleton would be beneficial to the elderly as a useful side benefit. However believe me, a lot of the geeks here working on these things weren't inspired to do so by the idea of a robo-grandparent.

Once they're finished building super mega mega man, then they might get around to building the mecha grandparent frame. ;)

Re:Blame it on Gundam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197931)

Well as they say, life imitates art.

Re:Blame it on Gundam (1)

dermusikman (540176) | about 9 years ago | (#12197991)

i'm sure the designers of cell phones were just trying to emulate Star Trek. silly nerds creating an absolutely useless invention... OR you're just being a *little* short-sighted. technology has followed science fiction pretty much since technology began catching up with science fiction, so we have Gundam to _thank_, actually.

Re:Blame it on Gundam (1)

kai.chan (795863) | about 9 years ago | (#12198023)

What you said is true, but you made it sound like it is a bad thing. Most technology are derived from the need for 'better' entertainment. Where would the game industry and graphic technologies be if people were not interested in making games and enhancing gameplay?

The Japanese do have a genuine interest in robotics. And it is true that the anime and game industries are big factors in Japan's advances in Robotics. Because of mainstream interest in mecha, especially Gundam, advances such as Sony's QRIO [sony.net] and Honda's ASIMO [honda.co.jp] are made. From bioengineering to fire-fighting robots, these advances in robotics are helpful in many aspects of our lives.

I, for one, welcome our new Exoskeleton Overlords! (3, Informative)

Nova Express (100383) | about 9 years ago | (#12197859)

An exoskeleton would be potentially useful for urban combat (punching through doors, knowck down walls, etc.), but probably less than you might think. Short of just walking through wall, an exoskeleton would probably be difficult to maneuver in dense environments, and those using early models would be at a lot greater risk of accidental immobilization (i.e., a sitting duck) and other potentially fatal equipment failures than someone in, say, a tank.

Alas, for Robert A. Heinlein's vision of Powersuits in Starship Troopers, exoskeletons, like those giant Japanese Mechs, are very cool in fiction, but probably not terribly useful in reality compared to more mundane alternatives.

Lawrence Person, Science Fiction Writer

Re:I, for one, welcome our new Exoskeleton Overlor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197878)

I can just imagine someone hopping along in one on the battle field, "damn my knee locked, how do you say 'where is the nearest Jiffy Lube in Korean?'"

Re:I, for one, welcome our new Exoskeleton Overlor (1)

bensafrickingenius (828123) | about 9 years ago | (#12197890)

"...an exoskeleton would probably be difficult to maneuver in dense environments"

talk about your understatement! did you see the pictures? the guy's got a backpack the size of, --well, i don't know, but it's friggin big!-- just to hold the electronics!

"...probably not terribly useful in reality"

except you could carry much heavier (i.e. more powerful) weapons and a lot more (and bigger) ammo.

Re:I, for one, welcome our new Exoskeleton Overlor (2, Insightful)

Master_T (836808) | about 9 years ago | (#12197891)

Anything that is bi-pedal is not eneregy efficient. It is more difficult to conserve momentum with it. Without incredible specialization it would also be extremely difficult to obtain any sort of precision of movement or manipulation. Perhaps the biggest problem: balance. The more control given to the "pilot" the less they could regulate balance and weight transfer in the machine. These things, I am sure work well for the disabled and old people, but they aren't going to be used by technological super heroes or anything like that anytime soon.

Re:I, for one, welcome our new Exoskeleton Overlor (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12198011)

Anything that is bi-pedal is not eneregy efficient. It is more difficult to conserve momentum with it.

So why don't humans have wheels/tracks/wings/scales to slither on the ground/whatever? Surely, we're not the most efficient beings, but we're pretty darn good. The real technological limitation is a light and dense power source--because that's what it boils down to, and robots can't burn ATP--yet. You want to move heavy stuff, you need power.

We've got all of the stuff to make a super mecha, as little seperate projects, with the exception of a good power source. We have manipulators that can be used to thread a needle, yet are still capable of lifting hundreds of pounds. This can be fairly easily transfered to hydraulics, for more power/bigger parts. Sony and others have the bi-pedal robots that can balance itself and all of that. The logic for just that isn't that hard, and if the project could somehow use the equilibrium sense of the human body, all the better.

Sure, it's not like gundam is going to be happening anytime soon, but I think that on a small scale, the loader exoskeleton from Aliens could be feasible and maybe even economical within 30 years.

Re:I, for one, welcome our new Exoskeleton Overlor (2, Insightful)

Charcharodon (611187) | about 9 years ago | (#12198104)

These would be better suited for the classic "gate guard" with 100-200lb payload you could put quit a bit of armor on that guy. That and a 30-50lb weapon. The intimidation factor would be very high.

I dunno, it's a bit of a stretch... (4, Funny)

Weaselmancer (533834) | about 9 years ago | (#12197874)

I mean really, of all people...the Japanese coming up with something like this? No way.

Re:I dunno, it's a bit of a stretch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12198005)

I hear this is also heavily researched by old people in Korea.

Hello again, HAL (1, Funny)

eander315 (448340) | about 9 years ago | (#12197879)

There should be an international ban on using the name HAL for any computer, piece of a computer, or anything with a computer attached.

Re:Hello again, HAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197920)

How about (I-1)(B-1)(M-1)? Is that OK?

Re:Hello again, HAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197942)

I dunno about you but I am a big fan of irony. ;)

getting a better crystal ball (2, Informative)

Alien54 (180860) | about 9 years ago | (#12197883)

I posted this before, and now we get this story posted where it actually fits the best. Got to get a better crystal ball. If you've seen this before, move along. Data posted here for sake of completeness....

As noted in another thread:

Neogentronyx is currently in the process of constructing a Bipedal Exo-Skeletal Robotic Vehicle [neogentronyx.com] [neogentronyx.com], known as a Mech and designated NMX04-1A. The purpose of the NMX04-1A is proof of concept and to make the first bold step towards full production of Mecha vehicles, affordable to civilians and not just commercial entities. There are plenty of pretty pictures and info here [neogentronyx.com] [neogentronyx.com]. See also these larger more recent pics [coasttocoastam.com] [coasttocoastam.com]

Another fine product of Alaska, approximately 18 ft tall (7 meters)

As someone noted:

Bring a few cans of WD-40. Looks like they are assembling this thing out in the open! No building to put it in!


Do you think that he's any competition?

Re:getting a better crystal ball (1)

nounderscores (246517) | about 9 years ago | (#12198025)

That's pretty wild. The presentation of the project is that they're mechanics who have bought powerloader parts and done a "junkyard wars" style development cycle.

Yet the tone of the site is very sure that this will work. One of the most interesting assertions is that with a human piloting the mech, balance is not the problem. Turning the legs enough is.

They've also claimed to have a "gyroscope rig" on the engine, to turn it as the mech turns. That sounds reasonable, as the engine is just there to provide pressure for the hydraulics, and having effectively a large gyroscope bolted directly to the mech frame would make it hard to turn in one or two directions.

Interesting read, and well presented site.

Good news everyone! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 9 years ago | (#12197899)

-I have invented this new type of an exoskeleton. No longer will I have to feel like prisoners of the planet with gravity as a jailer. Now all I need is a test-subject.

-Pick me, pick me!

-Great! The exoskeleton will be attached to your front like so, and I will be attached to the exoskeleton by my back like this. These belts with sharp sharp needles will be attached to the five extremeties of your body.

-When will this thing start moving?

-When I pull on the belts!

thank you, thank you.
I just miss Futurama so much :(

my idea for how to use this technology: (4, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | about 9 years ago | (#12197906)

Create an event which is half Battle Bots and half Ultimate Fighting Championship!

Reminds me of... (-1, Offtopic)

vought (160908) | about 9 years ago | (#12197907)

"Take this, you BITCH!"

Re:Reminds me of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197953)

What porn movie involves exoskeletons?

Re:Reminds me of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12198017)

He meant "Get away from her, you bitch!"

The immortal words of one Lt. Ellen Ripley of Nostromo, in Aliens :)

Awesome! (4, Funny)

the pickle (261584) | about 9 years ago | (#12197911)

Now the fall of Oscorp is just one successful test away!


If only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197989)

He'd marketed his indestructable arms, he'd have made two fortunes.

Every adolescent geeks dream... (0)

boingyzain (739759) | about 9 years ago | (#12197916)

..is to build a big robot exoskeleton you can use to crush your enemies... Now this is news for nerds!!

But seriously, robots like this have been science fiction for decades, it's interesting to see respectable institutions taking this seriously. I imagine successful implementation of this technology would again change the face of warfare. With anti-aircraft missles easily mountable on each soilder, perhaps air power will not always be king?

Something to think about... This could be the biggest paradigm shift until they discover a good repulsorlift and make hovertanks.
Grab a Free PSP [freepsps.com]
And a Free DS (or PS2/GC/XB) [freegamingsystems.com] .
Proof It Works (and more info) [slashdot.org]

Re:Every adolescent geeks dream... (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | about 9 years ago | (#12198088)

No. It's well known in robotics that 2-legged=bad. Maintaining static stability means the robot is slow and requires a lot of power, and dynamic stability means the robot is likely to fall over.

The is a marketing thing because people want it. They're going to fall over a lot, or they're going to be slow.

On flat terrain, wheels are better. On rocky terrain, six legged is better.

This is just a fantastically expensive toy.

Re:Every adolescent geeks dream... (2, Insightful)

RebelWithoutAClue (578771) | about 9 years ago | (#12198146)

No. It's well known in robotics that 2-legged=bad. Maintaining static stability means the robot is slow and requires a lot of power, and dynamic stability means the robot is likely to fall over.

It used to be that instability in aircraft was bad. Now unstable fly-by-wire fighters are very manouverable. Unstable is great if you can deal with it.

May be tackling the wrong problem (4, Interesting)

DumbSwede (521261) | about 9 years ago | (#12197917)

Neat as this stuff is, I doubt it will really help the majority of mobility impaired like my father. My father suffered from severe arthritis that left his knees and hips unable to bear his weight, and of course flexing them was excruciating, assisted or not.

A lot of wear an tear is from load bearing, and perhaps these powered suite address this to a degree, but I suspect in many cases they would exacerbate the problem for arthritis sufferers by adding to the weight load on joints, even while enabling superhuman lifting capabilities.

Even if they address the load issue on joints, it is overkill from what is really needed by tens of millions. I have not seen such a thing, but does anyone know of some kind of lightweight synchronized brace system? Something that would distribute the body's load to the hips directly and lock when the joints aren't moving? I have seen leg braces before, but not articulated ones that auto-lock. One thing that my father believed contributed to the breakdown of his joints were the long periods he spent standing doing his job as a chef. Again, a locking brace system would seem the answer for people that need to be on their feet long periods, but may have the beginnings of joint break down.

How about some prize money... (0, Troll)

boingyzain (739759) | about 9 years ago | (#12197932)

Sure, it wouldn't be as "sexy" as the X-Prize, but wouldn't some privately sponsored prize money do wonders for this longtime human dream? Call it, say, the Mecha Prize, and offer a few million bucks to whoever builds the first mecha that can go a half mile, pick up a Dodge Neon and move it in the air for 50 feet, then return to the starting line. Or something similar.

I have no doubt that someone as creative as Rutan is out there, and with a little incentive and the promise of some real financial gain could use modern actuators and pressure pads and gyro sensors and so forth to finally create a useful mecha.

I also have no doubt that (unlike Spaceship One) a mecha that could complete the above test would immediately be of great value in quite a few industrial and/or emergency applications.
Grab a Free PSP [freepsps.com]
And a Free DS (or PS2/GC/XB) [freegamingsystems.com] .
Proof It Works (and more info) [slashdot.org]

Re:How about some prize money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197955)

and then have one beat up those strong man contestants into oblivion...

Re:How about some prize money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12198003)

The trick is to put sensors on the outside of the mecha, so you can feedback environmental information to the wearer. variable gain would be necessary of course to allow the mechanical assist to be useful for shaking hands or tossing cars.

Re:How about some prize money... (1)

natrius (642724) | about 9 years ago | (#12198007)

It'd be nice to have a special prize for every advancement that someone wants, but I don't think this needs it. The money factor of the X-Prize isn't even what made Spaceship One happen. All the it added was the competition and a sense of urgency, as it needed to be done by a specific date. The thing about that X-Prize is that it and Ansari, the sponsors of the prize, will be mentioned in textbooks forever, just like the Orteig Prize. As you said yourself, mecha aren't "sexy" enough to be worthy of someone making a prize for it, because in the future it probably won't be as earth-shattering as flight or spaceflight.


Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12198112)

Copy and paste [slashdot.org] karming whoring troll. See his other posts, all copied, all modded up.

Limited Usefulness (-1, Redundant)

boingyzain (739759) | about 9 years ago | (#12197947)

The reason no one has ever actively pursued exoskeletons is because they would be so inefficient. Tanks and such are built with a low profile, and if you ask frontline soldiers, they are only useful in limited roles. My army friend much prefers the new strykers because of their flexibility and reliability.

A mecha would be standing 20 feet in the battlefied, an open and tempting target to everything from bombers to tanks to helicopters and to RPGs. It would have limited mobility, be extremely difficult to keep in working condition, and will have less load capacity than its tracked or wheeled counterparts. In short, it would look cool, but would be a useless coffin.

In BattleTech, they make up for the obvious disadvantages of a mecha by giving them advantages over vehicles. Mecha are more reliable, more maneuvarable, able to take more damage and continue to function, and can carry more weapons. Even then, if you pit a balanced vehicle force against a balanced mecha force, ton for ton, credit for credit, the vehicles can easily overpower the mecha in most circumstances.

I don't want to discourage this project. After all, how many inventions were made when there was no necessity, but a necessity was found at a later time? But I do want folks to exercise a bit of common sense. If exoskeletons were such a great idea, we'd have used them in WWII. We certainly had the technology to build them back then.
Grab a Free PSP [freepsps.com]
And a Free DS (or PS2/GC/XB) [freegamingsystems.com] .
Proof It Works (and more info) [slashdot.org]

MOD PARENT DOWN (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12198050)

He is a copy and paste [slashdot.org] karma whore who wants you to click on his links.

Re:Limited Usefulness (3, Informative)

Mahou (873114) | about 9 years ago | (#12198105)

i think the military application for exoskeletons is to help soldiers carry more supplies while marching extended distances. not fighting. marching. and i'm pretty sure we didn't have the tech for load-bearing exoskeletons back in WWII...

Applications in construction? (3, Insightful)

A Sea and Cake (874933) | about 9 years ago | (#12197954)

This seems a lot more appropriate for applications in construction than in the military or in medicine.

Digging/moving/lifting/mixing/carrying machines are generally designed to do jobs that humans can do, but on a larger scale and with more power. It seems to me that a person in a powered exoskeleton could perform such tasks pretty well, given the right tools or attachments.

What would be really cool... (-1)

boingyzain (739759) | about 9 years ago | (#12197960)

...is to get this developed to the point where it could replace a wheelchair. The psychological advantage to a person who'd lost the use of his legs to actually stand up and interact with the world "eye to eye" would have to be powerful. It probably also doesn't hurt to keep the muscles moving and the appropriate neural pathways firing.

Yea, I know, long way to get there from here, but it's a promising first step. Certainly worth some research dollars in my opinion.
Grab a Free PSP [freepsps.com]
And a Free DS (or PS2/GC/XB) [freegamingsystems.com] .
Proof It Works (and more info) [slashdot.org]

Re:What would be really cool... (Sorry for the OT) (0, Offtopic)

ZackSchil (560462) | about 9 years ago | (#12198021)

Jesus christ! Stop fucking posting. Put it all in one post! I know you're doing this just to get people to participate it the stupid, god damn "free offers" in your "sig", which isn't really a sig because it's too long and I have sigs off. You just paste it there so even people like me can see your trash. Fucking stop it. Now.

And please don't mod me down. I know I'm offtopic (though the topic is cool) and I turned off karma bonus off but I feel like posting anonymously would take away from what I'm trying to say here. Which would be fuck the parent posted for being a lamer. Fuck him in his stupid lamer asshole, where he no doubt stores hundreds of "free", lame gaming consoles.

Re:What would be really cool... (Sorry for the OT) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12198150)

Every single post he has ever made is copied from someone elses. Just look at his other posts and search on Google. What pisses me off is he gets modded up practically every time.

Re:What would be really cool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12198103)

Mod this guy down, click on his UID and mod all of his other posts down too. Next time you see boingyzain post mod it down because all he ever does is copy other peoples posts [slashdot.org] and get fucking modded up for it.

his venture firm?? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12197990)

Did anyone else notice that his "venture firm" is called cyberdyne??? How was this not harped on at length? Are we actually tired of allusions to skynet's infamous creator?

Finally I mean shit people (1)

fsterman (519061) | about 9 years ago | (#12198002)

This hack will have to do until I get mental powers. Robotic muscles, hell yeah, in places letting yhou do things you couldn't before. I bet this thing could blow glass better than I could after while.

Now all we need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12198032)

is a angsty 14 year old to pilot one of these...

Hi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12198114)

AC here.

Please make firefox eat IE raw.

I suggest build firefox with P2P so like when a user hit an apache server, the server will refers the clients to the various recently visiting clients.

Also, build P2P in Apache.

Make Apache eats IE raw.

Sigourney Weaver in Aliens 2. (1)

zymano (581466) | about 9 years ago | (#12198148)

What was that thing she was using to pound the alien ? Looked exoskeletonish to me.
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