Hi, so if you’re anything like me the word exoskeleton suddenly brings to mind things from science fiction and the movies like Dr. Octopus, Ironman.
Things to give you super human strength and super powers.
While the reality is not quite there yet, but I’m here at a company called Suit X and they are making an exoskeleton with three different components At the shoulders back and legs to give people like me with normal amounts of strength pretty intense strength indeed.
So let’s go inside, see what it does, and I’m going to try it out.
Exoskeletons are being used in factories to help prevent workers from getting injured, and it only helps you when you’re in a high risk posture like lifting a heavy box or installing screws overhead.
The Suit XMAX is modular with three components to protect the shoulders, back and legs.
Each piece costs between four to six thousand dollars.
So how much improved performance or less strain on the body can you achieve by wearing one of these components?
Like can you quantify that?
For back aches we’ve been able to reduce back muscle activation when you’re lifting a load by about 66%.
For shoulder aches you can reduce those significantly.
Or using a five pound or a ten pound tool.
And for the leg we actually have a setting that allows you to lock the leg so you’re maintaining basically a chair.
And so in that case she’s sitting on a chair.
Yeah, you don’t expend any effort at all.
So I can sit in a chair position without feeling like I’m using any of my energy.
And I could stay there for how long?
I’ve used it on, during an eight hour day.
Yeah, you can maintain that poisition for as long as you like.
Sir, how are these powered?
The actual mechanism for generating power is all passive.
So it’s a really clever arrangement of springs.
However, the leg has a very small computer in it that basically tells it when to turn on and turn off.
But all of the other devices are purely mechanical.
If I put all of them on all together am I gonna feel like I’m literally walking in an iron man suit?
The weight of the device is around all said and done everything.
Put together comes in probably around 20 pounds.
However when you’re wearing the leg all that weight gets transferred to the ground through the legs.
Okay let’s go suit up.
First up, I put on the back x.
It’s going to help me lift heavy weights like boxes.
Okay so now you’re in.
That’s the device.
It’s pretty lightweight.
You shouldn’t feel like it’s impeding you in any way.
No, it’s comfortable.
And then so when you bend down you’ll notice nothing’s happening because it’s off.
Nothing’s happening, yeah.
And then you come back up, and you push the two switches down on the back.
And now when you bend forward you’ll feel it supporting your-
If you’d like to lift, just kind of do it with and without the suit.
How heavy is this?
This is probably about 20 pounds.
Okay, so something I would probably struggle with normally.
Maybe, i’m not that strong, let’s face it.
It’s a weight that’s pretty common in packaging in warehouses.
All right, swtiches are off.
This is just my normal strength.
In the knees, yeah.
[INAUDIBLE] I can lift it but.
Turn it on.
Swithc is going on.
And then go ahead and try to pick it up.
And you’ll notice that it will kind of pull your upper body.
It’s so much easier.
20 pounds is easy so I take it up a notch and try 50 pounds.
That’s about as much as I can do without anyone’s help.
I’m so week.
Okay, now go ahead and push it down.
Pushing it down, all right.
[LAUGH] I did it.
It’s like supporting me.
This is crazy.
I know I’m lifting it but it’s not that heavy.
It feels like the 20 pound box.
Wow, [UNKNOWN] [LAUGH] Do a 100.
[LAUGH] We don’t necessarily recommend lifting Like 100 pounds.
We recommend lifting the same amount of load that you would normally do, but with the suit, you will notice it feels like a lot less.
Next is the ShoulderX.
It supports your arms while working overhead or anything that involves you having your arms up, like using a drill.
I am locked in and ready to try installing some screws on a wall.
Bring arms down completely to the side-
You notice that there is no support right now, it’s not helping you [CROSSTALK].
Right, once you bring your arms up over [UNKNOWN] you notice that it’s actually providing support.
See I’m like I’m not doing anything at all my muscles are not working at all I just hang out it feels really light, all right.
Feels like nothing.
I could do this all day.
I see what you’re doing, you’re trying to put me to work to fix everything in here, aren’t you.
We’ did need to put that board up a little while ago.
Last, but not least is leg X. That helps you maintain your position.
Think jack hammering and you’re on the right track.
Turn, go ahead, turn the device on.
All right, these two buttons here.
Those two buttons right there.
Now it’s blue.
So now you can go ahead and walk around.
You’ll note that it’s not gonna turn on, it’s not gonna impeed you in any way.
Yeah, it feels normal.
But when you squat, it’ll provide you with spring support.
[LAUGH] It is a spring, so I have to balance myself, right?
It’s not gonna auto-balance me.
Right, so the balance is still in you but you will feel that your quads won’t be working as hard.
[LAUGH] I feel like I can do some jumps.
I mean, I’m just jumping.
It doesn’t make you jump.
But It’s very easy and it takes a little strain off.
Another mode here, which is called chair mode.
Which is basically where it’s going to lock out your knee joint, so you can basically just sit on the device kind of like a chair.
There we go.
I hit the floor.
It’s very comfortable.
So easy [LAUGH] It makes this look easy.
My body can’t do this without this.
So now I’ve tried all of the three components separately it’s time to suit up and put all of them on at the same time.
But funnily enough, we’ve found another use for [UNKNOWN].
A camera John is using at as kind of a makeshift stabilizer/steady camp, it looks pretty comfortable, it’s taking the weight out of his arms.
I mean, you should get one to you.
Here we go.
I’m just kidding, I don’t actually walk like that.
[LAUGH] I can walk totally normally, it’s completely fine.
So it’s not restricting my movement.
I can feel it and I lift my arms up, I feel like my arms are floating.
If I wanna crouch down, springs me back up again.
Put everything on.
This is so cool.
Sham word activated.
I feel like I’m in Titanic.
You know the scene where I’m like.
At the front with Leo and Kate Winslet at the front of Titanic.
The exoskeleton is not designed to unhinge your movements so you can do just about anything you normally would like driving, or riding a bike, or even running on a treadmill.
Unfortunately though it’s not helping me walk any faster So I don’t know why you’d try running in an exoskeleton, but the point is you can do it.
I’m going to show you how.
This is a brisk walking speed.
Three miles an hour.
Four and a half miles an hour.
Five miles an hour.
I got this.
I can do it.
I can run.
I’ve got my ten calories in.
Now I’ll bring it back down.
[LAUGH] That was fun.
So wearing all three components of the SuitX Max; the LegX, the ShoulderX and the BackX, I kind of feel superhuman and I don’t want to take them off.
Thanks to this, I was able to do it.