With the recent release of Avengers 2, there’s no better time to discuss the world’s first bionic suit made specifically with the construction industry in mind. Unfortunately, unlike the suit Iron Man wears, this one doesn’t allow you to fly or shoot beams out of your hands, but it does show some unbelievable upside for the productivity of a manual laborer.
Founded in 2005, Ekso Bionincs is a technology and engineering company that plans to re-imagine the physical limitations of the human body, using exoskeletons. The exoskeleton uses weight distribution and counterbalances to allow human’s to complete tasks previously impossible. Ekso originally built their suits with the military in mind and later expanded to physical therapy. The amazing suits they’ve made have even made it possible for wheelchair users to stand up and walk a distance.
Now, and lucky for us, Ekso Bionics is targeting the construction industry. They’ve created a 16 pound exoskeleton that allows tools to be supported above a users head with seemingly no effort from the person wearing it. The construction suit uses absolutely no electric or batteries to function, amazingly, and is powered using only a counterbalance and a single spring arm. Wired Magazine's Adam Rogers was fortunate enough to try out the product and give his review of the product, which can be seen in the video below. In it, Rogers self-deprecatingly says the product allows “a guy like [him]” to hold a heavy power tool, like a 40 pound grinder, over his head with no physical exertion. The suit is adjustable for a user ranging from 5’4” to 6’4”, and, as Rogers states, it takes some getting used to.
It’s hard to not imagine the impact that this kind of suit could have on the construction industry. Think of all the heavy objects that 2 or more people need to help lift on job sites now and look at the ease in which this suit allows that grinder to be held. Those 2 or 3 man jobs could turn into 1 man jobs, allowing the others to focus on getting your job built. Think of all the injuries that occur from poor lifting techniques and the fatigue from working with heavy tools and materials all day. The limits are endless and the thoughts are extremely exciting.
The cost and release date for the construction exoskeleton are still to be determined.
Ekso Bionics : For the Human Endeavor ($TBD) | Ekso Bionics