Your Own Wearable Robot
Hyundai may be known for their cars, but did you know they're working on a real-life Iron Man suit? The South Korean automaker has unveiled a new robotic exoskeleton, and the company has numerous photos of the Marvel superhero featured in the blog post describing their new "wearable robot" prototype (so we aren't just coming out of left field with this comparison).
The prototype seems to be a new version of the H-LEX "wearable walking assistant" that Hyundai introduced last year. Unlike that lightweight version, which is worn like a suit, the fully mechanized exoskeleton "wears" you.
However, Hyundai also has another version that's much more lightweight with just a mechanical spine and legs strapped to the user. That model is designed to help "paraplegics, the handicapped and the elderly," according to the company.
The company says the suit will give the wearer extra strength, allowing them to lift objects "hundreds of kilograms" in weight. In addition to superhero-like strength, the exoskeleton has more practical applications. The exoskeleton could be used in factories, by the military, or to help with physical rehabilitation.
The Future of Transportation
Hyundai says the project is part of its "Next Mobility" system "that will lead to the free movement of people and things." In other words, the car manufacturer is angling the suits as transportation.
Hyundai isn't the only company taking this angle, though. Lockheed Martin and SuitX offer competition for Hyundai. DARPA is also building an exosuit for soldiers for its "Warrior Web" program.
In the end, the fierce competition might come down to cost. The Phoenix, for example, is $40,000. If Hyundai can offer a quality product at a better price, they might be in luck.