Hyundai beefs up robotic exoskeleton

7 pictures

Hyundai's new exoskeleton in testing(Credit: Hyundai Motor Group)

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Following on from a small, discreet mobility exoskeleton it unveiled last year, Korean auto giant Hyundai has revealed images of a much beefier, tougher looking robotic exoskeleton aimed at the transportation, industrial and military markets. The suit, which is still in its pre-production form, would let you lift and manipulate objects weighing over 60 kg (132 lb) with no stress to your legs, arms or back.

Like many Japanese car companies, Korean giant Hyundai Motor Group is experimenting with all sorts of mobility technology that goes way beyond just cars. Last year, Hyundai unveiled the H-LEX, a miniature exoskeleton focused on keeping frail, elderly and disabled people as mobile as possible. H-LEX was quite a discreet looking augmentation, weighing between 11 and 12 kg (24 and 26 lb) and drawing power from a small backpack.

Now, the company has released shots of something far meatier and more industrial through its blog site. Although the site makes it clear that the Iron Man suit was an inspiration, this one looks to have more in common with the yellow number Ripley used to take out the Xenomorph Queen trash in Aliens.

Whatever the inspiration, this blue beastie gives a human wearer the ability to lift and manipulate objects as heavy as 60 kg (132 lb). The wearer straps in and controls the suit with normal body movements. Special hand controls give you grip and lift capability with what appears to be a pair of grasping claws.

Other shots show a new legs-only mobility exoskeleton; a chunkier, heavy-lift and less discreet version of the H-LEX perhaps, that's even capable of climbing up and down staircases.

Hyundai is aiming for commercialization for the device, and is already touting its potential in the military, industrial and physical rehabilitation markets. Thanks to a plethora of other robotic exoskeleton designs, though, there could be plenty of competition. It's certainly looking like your first ride in a robo-suit may not be that far away.

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