The Experiments of Wearable Robot for Carrying Heavy-Weight Objects of Shipbuilding Works was presented at an IEEE conference
Workers building the world’s biggest ships could soon don robotic exoskeletons to lug around 100-kilogram hunks of metal. The exoskeleton fits anyone between 160 and 185 centimetres tall. Workers do not feel the weight of its 28-kilogram frame of carbon, aluminium alloy and steel, as the suit supports itself and is engineered to follow the wearer’s movements. With a 3-hour battery life, the exoskeleton allows users to walk at a normal pace and, in its prototype form, it can lift objects with a mass of up to 30 kilograms.
To don the exoskeleton, workers start by strapping their feet on to foot pads at the base of the robot. Padded straps at the thigh, waist and across the chest connect the user to the suit, allowing the robot to move with their bodies as it bears loads for them. A system of hydraulic joints and electric motors running up the outside of the legs links to a backpack, which powers and controls the rig.
The Lockheed Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) is based on a design from Berkeley Bionics of California and have been around since 2009. Lockheed enhanced the basic HULC.
* Soldiers wearing HULC are able to carry loads up to 200 pounds with minimal effort
* HULC uses four pounds of lithium polymer batteries will run the exoskeleton for an hour walking at 3mph, according to Lockheed. Speed marching at up to 7mph reduces this somewhat; a battery-draining “burst” at 10mph is the maximum speed
Lockheed HULC exoskeleton
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