The Midterms and Powered Exoskeletons/Super Suits -Daniel Waltrip

I was somewhat surprised to learn that we were going to be performing presentations for our midterm. I suppose that it makes sense considering the innovative and somewhat experimental nature of the class. I enjoyed seeing the vast spectrum of ideas that everyone came up with, it was amazing that all the projects were different, especially with such a large class. This shows how many options we have in creating a new future, and what exciting new ideas it has in store.

As for the actual midterms, I thought that full body suit/exo-skeleton idea the most interesting. While some of that interest stems from the coolness factor of “master chief” in Halo or “Doc Oc” in Spiderman 2, such a development would actually be very useful in a variety of functions. A powered “super suit” would provide safety and cut down on the needed man power for countless tasks and situations. Firefighters could resist very high temperatures and not have to worry as much about falling objects when rescuing people from fires. Laborers could do more work with fewer men in less time. The police force and military could utilize such suits and modify them for combat. The list goes on.

Obviously, we have already made steps in such directions. The development of robotics and the increase in mobile, versatile computing power will assist in the development of these power suits. However, a major concern to consider is safety. If the suit malfunctions or break down, the user might experience great bodily harm, especially if it occurs in the middle of a strenuous task.

A while back, I read about a contest called “Tetsujin”, the world’s first exoskeleton weight lifting competition. Events like this are what will spur research and bring forth new innovations. Here is a picture of an average guy lifting 650 pounds with an exo-skeleton designed for the Tetsujin contest.

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