Practical exoskeletons have moved considerably closer to everyday use with the news that Honda has begun leasing 100 of its Walking Assist Devices
to hospitals in Japan so that it can monitor and validate their usefulness in the real world. Honda's announcement means it has joined Panasonic's Activelink Powerloader, Cyberdyne's HAL, Argo Medical Technologies' Rewalk, Rex Bionics' REX, Ekso Bionics EKSO, Raytheon's XOS2, RB3D's Hercule and Lockheed Martin's HULC exoskeletons, which are all at or close to market.
that artificially augment puny human muscles have been in development for years, but we're yet to see any of them really take off. Panasonic is still betting on its own solution, the Power Loader Light
(yes, named after the one seen in the sci-fi film Aliens
), which is being developed by Activelink, one of its subsidiaries. The company has made some modifications since its initial appearance in 2010 and is showing off how it works on video for the first time.
We've covered a number of amazing exoskeletons
here on Gizmag, ranging from the solutions for paraplegics – see REX Bionics'
and Berkley Bionics'
exoskeletons – to the downright wacky Kid Walker
mecha for children. Last year we saw Activelink's Power Loader
, an exoskeleton that takes its name from the suit of the same name in James Cameron's Aliens
. The company, a subsidiary of Panasonic, has now come out with a lightweight version, appropriately named the Power Loader Light.