Panasonic Exoskeleton Powerloader Light
Panasonic’s Powerloader Light exoskeleton…
Long gone are the days when exoskeletons were nothing more than a Sci-Fi concept. Already we’ve seen the impressive development of Raytheon’s OX 2, Lockheed Martin’s HULC, and the REX Bionic Legs Exoskeleton.
And working away to the same end another company is ready to enter the race as Panasonic’s Activelink subsidiary has announced that it will start selling its Powerloader Light (PLL) – a modified version of, you’ve guessed it, the Powerloader.
We didn’t get chance to feature the original Powerloader (pictured below) here on our blog, but you can see that it was considerable more bad ass than the ‘light’ version which has gone on sale.
Nevertheless the PPL is commercially available, which is a lot more than can be said for other exoskeletons making the headlines.
Aptly named after the Powerloader that was so gracefully operated by Signorney Weaver’s character Ripley in the cult classic Aliens, Panasonic’s PLL doesn’t quite poses the brute force of James Cameron’s exoskeleton but it does allow the wearer to lift an extra 88lbs (40kg/400N).
The PPL weighs 84lbs (38kg); uses a 6 axis force sensors to track and predict movements, and an onboard 1.1GHz PentiumM CPU adjusts and shifts the weight of the exoskeleton to augment leg movements. The system runs on Linux 2.6 and can be easily modified both at software and hardeare levels.
The company says the device will can be used for industrial application, medical rehabilitation, and could help to serve as a power-amplifying assistant for Japans rapidly aging population.
The starting price is 18,000,000 JPY ($223,000), however Panasonic will sell the PPL half price to developers for 9,000,000 ($111,500) with the agreement that their findings must be published online within one year, and that reproducible results much be published within 3 years.
- Kat Hannaford: Powerloader Light Exo-Suit Adds 40kg of Kick-Power to Your Legs. Gizmodo.com, 10/26/2010.
- Unknown: Panasonic’s POWERLOADER Light Adds Spring To Your Step. PlasticPals.com, 10/25/2010.
- Serkan Toto: Power Loader: Panasonic venture accepts orders for mecha robot suits (video). CrunchGear.com, 01/28/2010.