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Super 350cm exoskeleton

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October 30, 2004

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Updated May 2005 Whenever robots are discussed, it seems the name tmsuk comes up. The small Japanese robotics company has collaborated with some of the biggest names in electronics to produce commercial robots in the last few years, and their concepts always seem to be innovative and imaginative, not to mention very useful. tmsuk is best known for its security robots Banryu and Artemis, a semi-humanoid security guard for hospitals and office buildings) so when Japan’s National Research Institute of Fire and Disaster, strategised its next generation response to earthquakes and the fires they cause and decided it needed a robot for high risk situations, tmsuk got the call. Built for business, the strapping 3.5 metre Enryu will be called upon to rush into burning buildings, lift heavy objects and rescue people. Neat heh!

Enryu’s towering presence matches the super hero job description; the DFWM looks of a Transformer, the gait of a bulldozer, a five ton King Kong fighting weight and human-like arms which can lift a ton, quite literally.

Now Enryu can be operated remotely, thanks to seven 6.8 MPX CCD lens mounted on its head, torso and arms, enabling the remote driver to see from several angles. It can also be operated from inside, making it an exoskeleton and enabling it far greater dexterity and hence capability. The driver wears a fireproof suit and is encased in a protection capsule and will surely have the dream job of the next generation of adolescents. Production began last year (2004) and the company sees a large part of its future building robots which can go where human beings cannot, such as burning buildings or on the battlefield.

The company is also conducting feasibility studies on the potential market for super-strong robots and exoskeletons in the construction and agricultural industries.

Perhaps a decade from now, it’s possible that a man wearing an exoskeleton descendent from Enyru, might construct a house or landscape a garden in a day.

The super robot is codenamed the T-52 Enryu and certainly looks the part of a super hero, appearing part Transformer, part bulldozer and part King Kong at its fighting weight of 5 tons. The T-52 can lift a ton of weight with its “arms” alone, and the arms have the full range of movement available to the human arm.

TMSUK developed the robot in cooperation with Kyoto University and the Kitakyushu Fire Department, Japan's National Research Institute of Fire and Disaster in Tokyo.

The 3.5 metre-tall robot can either be driven from a “drivers pod” positioned at the front of the robot or it can be controlled remotely as like its cousin the Banyru , it contains multiple CCD cameras which transmit to the remote driver - in this case, it has seven 6.8-megapixel CCD cams mounted on its head, torso and arms.

For more information, visit TMSUK's web site.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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