Always on the cutting edge, Japanese engineers are perfecting a wearable power suit. The 66-pound suit is driven by portable batteries, micro air pumps and small body sensors that pick up even the slightest muscle twitch.
A network of sensors track the wearer’s upper arms and legs and waist-muscle activity, then relay the data to an onboard microcomputer that regulates air flow into a series of inflatable cuffs which expand to amplify lifting strength. The suit supports its own weight and carries a battery lifetime of about 30 minutes.
In a sign of the times, the power suit is not being developed to weaponize a battalion of super soldiers, create a robo-cop, or aid space exploration. Instead, it will be used to help nursing home employees lift elderly patients in need of a sponge bath.