It’s hard to say in all cases which happens first. Does science and technology reality drive the science fiction pop culture, or is it the other way around? Does science fiction predict future technology?
Probably some of both, actually. No doubt, the classic television series “Star Trek” from the 1960s has proven to be a remarkable predictor of real technology that has emerged decades later. For example, smartphone technology today resembles those Star Trek communicators quite a bit, don’t you think?
And when it comes to human assisted robotics, the two Iron Man movies have created a wonderful glimpse at the possibilities for machine assisted motor function. Who doesn’t want one of those Iron Man suits like Robert Downey Jr?
Back to reality, the French company RB3D has announced the RB3D Hercule Exoskeleton Legs. RB3D calls these collaborative robotic devices that assist humans with motor function “cobots” (that is collaborative robots or cobots).
As is common with many technology innovations, the Hercule Exoskelten legs are actually a joint venture between several companies and agencies including RB3D, the French Directorate General Armaments, CES LIST and ESME Sudria.
The robotic exoskeleton legs are battery-powered and are engineered to augment a human user’s strength and lifting power. A human user that wears the robotic legs is able to lift up to 220 pounds. The robotic legs can operate on a battery charge for up to 12.5 miles if the user walks at a normal pace. These robotic assist devices move in natural unison with the user, and apparently, it’s not difficult to adapt your motion and learn how to use the exoskeleton legs.
See a demonstration of the RB3D Hercule Exoskelton Legs
RB3D is planning to introduce the Hercule Exoskeleton legs for both Civilian and Military use in 2014.
Source: [Gadget Lab: Wired]