Futurist: Strongarm

Posted by Grey Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mankind taking one bold step at a time, whilst entering those Asimov or Clarke's crazy-ass sci-fi future. Futurist, a pseudo-chronicles of the civilization's decline or evolution, depending on your perspective. And as weird science go, Japan seemed to be a sure bet for the futurist nation to turn to. Evident from the below inaugural entry for the Futurist.

A team of six Japanese engineers, under Go Shirogauchi, has been working on a project by the name of Dual-Arm Power Amplification Robot since 2003. What's in the name?

An exo-skeleton arm that is attached to an operator, enabling humans to lift more than 90 kg with ease. The likes of pop culture remnants from Saturday morning cartoons to your regular summer blockbusters.

More details from the excerpt:

The Dual-Arm Power Amplification Robot is being developed by Kyoto-based Activelink Co., a unit that is owned and financed by electronics giant Panasonic. Driven by 18 electromagnetic motors with direct force feedback, the operator can control the arm's movements, including performing delicate manoeuvres.

A team of six engineers, has been working on the project since 2003 and aims to have the device, which is made of an aluminium alloy, ready to go into practical use by 2015.

"The prime use for the arm will be in disaster zones, where wheeled vehicles are unable to operate but heavy weights need to be moved," Shirogauchi said.

When completed, the arm will serve as a common platform that will have a wide range of interchangeable parts that can easily be installed. Other potential applications include in warehouses and on construction sites.

The only drawback with the robotic machine at present is its weight - about 200 kg - which makes it difficult to operate without support and limits its applications. Shirogauchi's team is presently working to reduce the weight of the unit, which will also make it safer for the operator.

The completed arm will not come cheap, however, with Shirogauchi estimating one of the units at more than Y29 million (£200,000).


Via: Telegraph Technology

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