One of the trends that I have noted here at Shoebat.com with regard to the future of artificial intelligence and robotics is what some call “augmented humanity”, which is where humans and machines work together in a sort of symbiotic union to enhance man’s natural abilities. For eample, putting on a pair of boots or a suit that helps a man work more on harder things with less effort.
This is not a science fiction dream, but is becoming a reality, for as DE24 news notes, automobile manufacturers are exploring and working on “robot suits” for their employees.
Wearable technology takes on a different meaning in the world of automobiles. As employees get older and younger and avoid the idea of working on a factory production line, auto companies are looking for ways to lighten the load.
High tech exoskeletons are being studied by companies like Hyundai Motor Co., Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. The technology originally developed to help people who can no longer walk or stand alone, relieves fatigue and prevents injuries. It’s especially useful for repetitive processes that can’t be automated, even when robotics is making great strides in the industry.
All types of businesses have an “emphasis on corporate social responsibility and occupational safety” and strive to prevent workplace injuries, said Xu Zhenhua, founder of ULS Robotics, a Shanghai-based company that provides exoskeletons to automakers, airport operators, and other industrial manufacturers.
ULS Robotics is developing three exoskeletons that workers can wear to hold and lift heavy equipment. One is for the upper body, another goes around the waist, and the third focuses on the lower limbs. The first two weigh about seven kilograms each and allow the wearer to lift another 20 kilograms. They are powered by a lithium battery with a lifespan of around six to eight hours.
Xu said the exoskeletons are most useful along general assembly lines, which are still to some extent handcrafted. Just like scooters and shared bicycles have helped Solve the “last mile” problem for e-commerce deliveries and commuters, and exoskeletons can also help solve the “last person” problem on a production line, he said. (source)