California-based robotics companying suitX recently introduced MAX, a Modular Agile Exoskeleton, to aid physical labor and reduce the risk of injury from the lifting, bending, pulling, and pushing common in many jobs. MAX consists of suitX’s backX, shoulderX, and legX modules working in conjunction to create full-body robotic exoskeletal assistance for industrial, construction, baggage handling, logistics, assembly line, shipbuilding, warehouse, delivery, factory, and foundry professionals.
Silence, Earthling! You’d be excused for thinking MAX was some kind of Popular Mechanics article from the 1950s showing how work would be done in the year 2000. But MAX is a reality from Califonia’s suitX that’s helping laborers of all kinds perform the tasks with up to a 60 percent reduction in required muscle force and protection against all those joint injuries and so common when doing hard work. The debate will rage on about robots replacing some jobs, but how about robots directly assisting jobs? We imagine that’ll be considered overwhelmingly cool.
It’s not really clear how MAX achieves its mechanical advantage since none of the three modules – backX, shoulderX, and legX – require batteries, actuators, or computers. But whatever the mechanism, it significantly augments the wearer’s strength. You can easily image how this will help keep us healthy and working longer with less fatigue and pain than we would unassisted. The applications are manifold and insurance claims and health care costs certainly reduced.
So how much will these bionics set you back? For quantities under 20, the module trifecta would cost $11,000. But let’s put that in perspective: could wearing MAX allow you to comfortably work another 5 years? 8 years? Could it allow you to be pain-free more often? We certainly think so and we think suitX is on to something. We’re not sure we’ll get to test MAX out anytime soon, but we’d jump – up to 60% higher – at the chance! For more information, check out MAX at the suitX website.
Modular Agile Exoskeleton Features
- Reduce Back Strain: Reduces compression on the spine at L5/S1 disc by an average of 60%
- Zero Impedance: Ascending and descending stairs and ladders, running, driving, and biking are completely unimpeded
- Adjustable Support by the User: Support force can be quickly changed to accommodate different users, tasks, and fatigue level
- No Batteries Required: Cleverly designed to reduce the risk of injuries without the use of batteries, actuators, or computers
- Adjustable Size: Fits a wide range of height and waist sizes (5%-95% of human dimensions)
- Quick Donning and Doffing: can be put on and taken off in less than 30 seconds
- Super Comfortable: Minimal inhibition of motion
- Compatible: Works with safety harnesses, tool belts, and can be worn under reflective vests and work jackets
- Rugged: Designed to withstand harsh environments – waterproof, dustproof, and easy to maintain
- Low Profile: Follows user’s body to fit in tight spaces and changing environments
- Optimized Support: Support force is optimized based on bending angle. Does not impede non-bending tasks