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Hasta La Vista, Baby:

Robot suit for the grower of the future

A robotic suit to simplify agricultural tasks, it’s no science fiction. An actual suit was developed by Shigeki Toyama, a Japanese professor of robotic science. “Anyone can use this suit without loss of efficiency.”

The device has eight electric motors, capable of alleviating the effort of arms and legs. Sensors can record the movements of the body, and the suit listens to verbal commands. The movements are smooth and tasks are easy to perform without rheumatic problems, shoulder pain, cramps or other discomforts.

Two models are developed for different tasks. The heaviest, 31 kilos, is fit for harvesting vegetable crops in the sun and lugging heavy things. The second, 23 kilos, can work vertically and is suitable for production of fruit and vegetables.

Physical exertion is reduced by 62%, researchers say. The muscle activity is lower by half if the user bends. This allows him to keep this up longer and without pain. The suit now costs a million yen ($ 11,000), but the price will go down by half if the prototype goes into production.


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