You know what the world needs more of today? We need more robot exo-suits. I’m serious! With all the stuff we read about that’s got going on, like people stealing iPhones from children and serial rapists being let back onto the streets and… (UGH!!!) Bieber… we need something that’ll cheer us up. And I say robot suits are the answer! Think about it. Could you really look me in the eye and tell me the world’s problems can really get you down as much as they do now if you were riding around in your own robot suit?
Didn’t think so!
That’s why, when I read earlier this week that Sagawa Electronics, a Japanese (Of course) robot maker, had developed a new robotic exoskeleton called the Power Jacket MK3, I started to feel like there was hope for a brighter future after all. And that future will have robots we can wear.
Despite the funny, somewhat creepy and totally weird (I’m talking weird on a level that only Japan can pull off “weird”) video they released to showcase the Power Jacket MK3, Sagawa assures the suit is real. It isn’t as heavy duty as the Kuratas giant robot that came out (Also in Japan) last year, but at only 7 feet 4 inches tall and 55 lbs heavy, it’s much easier to get around with. Other robo-exoskeletons, like the Robot Suit HAL (Yes, it’s Japanese too) which was announced earlier this year may be all business with their whole “assisting the elderly” and “protecting workers on dangerous jobsites” thing, but Power Jacket MK3 is for those of us who just want to walk around inside a giant robot, for on other reason than the fact that it would be pure awesome.
Now that’s news to smile about. Shoot! Even the test pilot can’t help but smile while wearing the suit.
The exoskeleton works based on a “master-slave system” which basically allows the mechanical limbs to be controlled by the movement of the wearer’s limbs. Based on the video, it appears to function pretty well. It’s sturdy enough to allow the “pilot” to easily walk, climb stairs and even run.
Of course, the robotic limbs offer a small strength boost as well, but it still allows you to pick up an egg without crushing it… Though I imagine some of us (Me) may need more practice than others.
I don’t have a good record with eggs…
Sadly, there aren’t that many robot exo-suits out there and Power Jacket MK3 isn’t going to contribute in a large way to the robotic battle suit future so many of us have dreamed of. The company has stated that they’re only making a very limited number of these MK3 suits – only five, in fact – and they’ll each be sold at a cost of around US$123,000. That’s a much more comfortable figure to work with that the $1.3 million price tag the Kuratas robot carries. Still, even with only five of these being made, at least, the fact that robot suits are finally being built is a sign that some people are finally getting their shit together.