Robotics

Koma 1.5 can be either a buggy or a powered exoskeleton, as required

Koma 1.5 can be either a buggy...
After operating in its rolling Buggy Mode, Atoun's Koma 1.5 pulls in its front wheels to enter Two-Legged Mode
After operating in its rolling Buggy Mode, Atoun's Koma 1.5 pulls in its front wheels to enter Two-Legged Mode
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After operating in its rolling Buggy Mode, Atoun's Koma 1.5 pulls in its front wheels to enter Two-Legged Mode
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After operating in its rolling Buggy Mode, Atoun's Koma 1.5 pulls in its front wheels to enter Two-Legged Mode

When you're carrying a heavy load, it can be pretty difficult walking across flat ground, let alone climbing stairs. The Koma 1.5 is designed to help, by alternately acting as a powered buggy or a two-legged lower-body exoskeleton.

Currently in functioning prototype form, the device is being developed by Panasonic subsidiary Atoun. Among other things, the Japanese "powered wear" company has previously brought us the Model Y and Himico assistive exoskeletons, which help their wearers to lift heavy items and walk over rough terrain, respectively.

The idea behind the Koma 1.5 is that when its load-carrying user is traversing smooth, level surfaces – like factory or warehouse floors, for instance – they just stand up on the rig, hold onto its two control arms, and get carried along by its four motorized wheels. This is known as Buggy Mode, and it offers both the smoothest ride and the simplest operation.

Should the user need to climb stairs or step over an obstacle, though, the pushing of a button switches the setup over to Two-Legged Mode. Its two front wheels then retract back to form two powered, articulated "legs" that follow the movements of the user's legs, supporting them as they step up and down.

As an added bonus, the Koma 1.5 is reportedly capable of autonomously spotting and avoiding obstacles, utilizing its integrated camera and an AI-based computer vision system.

There's currently no word on when or if the device will reach production. For now, though, you can see the prototype in action, in the following video.

Powered Suit CODE NAME KOMA 1.5

Source: Atoun via IEEE Spectrum

2 comments
2 comments
stevendkaplan
They should have given this to the Ed-209 from the original robocop movies. Maybe then it wouldn’t have fallen over so much!

Speaking of fictional series this concept reminds me of the landspinners the mecha from the Code Geas anime use to get around.
WB
this thing needs to be about 10x faster...