This is turning out to be an awesome week for powered exoskeletons. First, America's MegaBot clears half of its initial $500,000 Kickstarter goal ahead of next year's fight against Japan's Kuratas in a little under 24 hours. Now, Mitsui, Japan's number one oil and ore mining outfit, has announced that it plans to develop real life versions of Ripley's power loader.
The device is known as an Assist Suit AWN-03 and was developed by ActiveLink and Panasonic. It consists of a 13-pound backpack outfitted with leg supports which allows its wearer to lift up to 33 pounds without any noticeable effort. But that's only the first step. The company plans to expand the pack's capabilities (via the addition of mechanical arms and legs) within the next two years to create an honest-to-goodness power loader. A company representative even went so far as to call out the movie by name. "What we have in mind is the Aliens power loader," Tomoya Tsutsumi, an official at Mitsui's construction and industrial machinery division, said during a demonstration of the AWN-03 in Tokyo earlier this week.
the second iteration of the suit will incorporate full arms and legs
The company hopes to sell at least 1,000 units of the AWN-03 in its first year of production. Parcel delivery companies Kajima Corp. and Yamato Holdings have already expressed interest in using the assistive device.
[Image Credit: Top - 20th Century Fox, inline - Panasonic]