While many journalists are saying that Hyundai has created an Iron Man suit and the company has called it’s wearable robot/exo-skeleton an Iron Man suit, this just looks like Sigourney Weaver’s, rather Lt. Ripley’s load bearing, alien fighting outfit from the 1986 film “Aliens.”
Wearable “Iron Man” suit by a car manufacturer
On Wednesday, in a blog post, the Korean automaker Hyundai revealed seven photos of an exo-skeleton that the company is developing to aid factory workers, the elderly and the disabled. Unfortunately, while the photos of the blue wearable robot are quite impressive the scant details that were released with the pictures suggest that its unveiling, production and use remain years(?) away from reality. Again, what I find quite strange is the fact that it is receiving so many comparisons to Marvel Comics’ Tony Stark or when in his suit Iron Man. It doesn’t fly, it doesn’t have any weaponry, hell, there is no “Jarvis.”
On top of that, no one pictured in the photos has an arc reactor embedded in their chests to power the suit suggesting that the thing will rely on batteries. We could just stop the comparison there but it should be noted that no vibranium shields are present and no promises of any Avengers coming to your aid if a task meant to be made easier by the suit proves too much for you.
However, what Hyundai is promising is a “strap-on” suit that weighs about 110 pounds and could help the wearer pick up items that weigh as much as 500 pounds? That number is on the high side of speculation by other news sources as Hyundai simply said that users will be able to lift “hundreds of kilograms.”
While the real life Tony Stark, Elon Musk, is trying to give you an affordable, luxurious all-electric ride while pursuing his true ambitions of reaching Mars, it has apparently fallen to Hyundai to build something a little more down to earth. It’s certainly a little self-serving as well, as it’s quite easy to see its own workers equipped with the suits to help build the company’s cars that seem to get better each year. Hyundai began life as a bit of a cheap Honda alternative but have grown into a company that is producing some fine automobiles in their own right.
This wearable robot that we are developing for commercial purposes will be used in diverse areas,” Hyundai told Yonhap News Agency. “Such a robot development is in line with Hyundai Motor Group’s vision for free mobility of people and things.”
Update on an existing suit?
Last year saw the company unveil a suit that it called the H-LEX (Hyundai Lifecaring ExoSkeleton) with a promise of both industrial and military applications. It’s believed that the pictures that were released on Wednesday are an update on the H-LEX with more power delivered in a lighter suit.
In addition to granting the wearer superhero strength, the company is promising that its exo-skeleton will allow the wearer to “move quickly over long distances” hopefully without the added of danger of feeling the need to “defend” your girlfriend from a phantom intruder and shooting her through a bathroom door.
It’s this super speed that holds interest from many a military standpoint.
South Korea, like many a country, has an ever-aging population and with age comes a loss of mobility. If the suit could be made light enough there will certainly be quite a demand from the elderly if they could regain movement lost over time as well as assistance with heavy objects.
Additionally, there are certainly opportunities to help paraplegics walk again.