Panasonic, Japanese consumer electronics giant, has certainly made a lot of geeks and robotics nerds happy with their announcement on January 2 that they will go into mass production globally for their “powered suit,” to be made available as early as 2015. This suit is a sort of robotic exoskeleton which will enhance the strength of the user, most likely in lifting heavy objects. The powered suit will be priced at a relatively low price of 500,000 yen (around US$4800).
Panasonic says that in over a year, around 1000 of these suits will be produced. The powered exoskeleton will be good for use in short-term operations, such as in disasters and within nuclear power stations. The suit is equipped with large capacity lithium-ion battery, very much like the ones used in computers and smart phones, and makes its movement via a motor. The suit’s arms and grip-and-release ability is controlled by hand by the user. In the future, Panasonic is also planning to develop a suit that can be used even in extreme environments, such as in space and deep sea.