Panasonic Power Loader “Straight From That Movie”

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Panasonic has unveiled the world’s first production powered exoskeleton, in the form of a power loader “straight out of Aliens” (albeit perhaps not quite as impressive).

Panasonic plans to make 1,000 of the units for general sale in 2015, at a surprisingly reasonable cost of 500,000 yen each ($5,000).

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The consumer “power loader light” version will only be able to lift 30kg, with one charge of its batteries good for 2-3 hours of operation and a variety of hammers and digging tools available as replacement arms.

However, the test version can lift 100kg and trot along at a top speed of 8kph, making it somewhat more of a proposition for crushing alien queens.

Online there is a certain amount of enthusiasm, as well as some doubts:

“Didn’t we see this in Aliens?”

“Looks like it could make short work of any queens.”

“Pretty cheap at 500,000 yen.”

“Total power loader. The driver could use some protection though.”

“Put some armour on it!”

“Looks a lot more usable than a forklift.”

“Even I can lift 30kg! Without the 100kg version what is the point?”

“Panasonic are still producing industrial waste I see.”

“I’d rather have a big dog as a robot partner.”

“30kg is nothing. Factor in maintenance and accidents and this will never sell.”

“Maybe you can lift that much one or twice, but try unloading 30 boxes from a truck and see how you feel at the end.”

“Imagine 2 hours of lifting 30kg boxes – I think it will work out.”

“Plus women or the disabled can do the same work with this now too.”

“This has to compete with hiring some day labourer though.”

“Seems a bit pointless to put a human in it – why not just remote control it?”

“Looks like a new age is dawning.”

“Just think of the size of the guns you could make it carry…”


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    109 Comments
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    Comment by Anonymous
    06:14 04/01/2014 # ! Good (+0.7)

    It seems kinda weak and unimpressive, but remember: it's only the beginning. It's an important step towards more advanced consumer robotics.

    Avatar of cats2
    Comment by cats2
    08:04 04/01/2014 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    They built some claws that can't lift that much...?

    Meanwhile Petman now has skin with sensors that will protect it from hazardous environments. Just 1 step closer to Terminator levels..

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:18 04/01/2014 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Skynet is already Self-Aware my friend. It is only a matter of time now :)

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:49 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    You mean one step closer to chobits

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:03 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    No! GUNDAMS!

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:24 06/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    NO!! SEXROIDS!!!!

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:57 05/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    No!CHOBITS!:(

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:52 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    What does "Petman" really do, though? Testing chemical suits? That's hardly something you see in everyday life.

    This, however, is different. This was designed for a common everyday application: loading and unloading. If it catches on, it's gonna be widely used. You'll see it in many places, people are going to become more accustomed and comfortable with the idea of robotics, and it'll spur development of much more stuff like this.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:57 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Panasonic, a commercial entity which R&D funds depend on how much profit they make annually.

    vs

    Boston Dynamics, a formerly de facto robotics research arm of the US military which were likely granted the same enormous funding as much as anything else endorsed by fucking DARPA.

    See the difference?

    Japan's researchers are doing amazing stuff considering their uphill battle.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:26 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not sure about you but panasonic seems right in this one. Instead of gathering millions from select group of people/government, they can pass it on to consumers and as we all know, as long as there are consumers, there will be money. While petman seems cool and stuff, it isn't that commercial therefore, it may take longer than panasonic's(depending on how fast panasonic develops anyway)

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:34 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Remember, this is only the "civilian" version. Usually anything like this that comes out to us civs are old hand-downs from what the military already have.

    Avatar of Rya
    Comment by Rya
    08:47 04/01/2014 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    And by consumer robotics you mean Power Armor, right? So it runs 8kph and lifts 100kg. Restraining factor is probably battery power. What if, in 10 years or so, it runs at 25kph for hours, lifts 500kg effortlessly and shoots tank shells from one arm. Ultimate infantry assault unit.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:14 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    I agree that will be an awesome infantry assault unit.

    Avatar of Rene
    Comment by Rene
    00:40 05/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'd argue that with the advancements in technology and the rapid development we're capable of, we'll have a fully functioning prototype that can run 25kph and lift 500kg by 2020.

    2014 looks like a promising year for robotic advancements.

    Avatar of General Jack D. Ripper
    23:11 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Doesn't the US also working on exoskeleton too, particularly the Sarcos XOS-2?

    Although this one looks a bit "safer" when it comes to carrying heavy stuff.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:42 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hopefully they will be usable by people other than orphaned middle school students and will be powered by some source other than the souls of the orphans' mothers.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:57 05/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    So it's basically a forklift with some douchebag totally exposed?

    I'm pissing myself as I type this post. I sure as hell hope we don't run out of SEVENTY-TON TANKS, BLOCK-LEVELING ARTILLERY, GPS-GUIDED BOMBS AND FIREARMS CAPABLE OF TURNING SEDANS INTO SWISS CHEESE WHEN THOSE "POWER LOADERS" ARE ONLINE.

    Because then I'd be forced to throw garbage cans at those things.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:00 05/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    >What if, in 10 years or so, it runs at 25kph for hours, lifts 500kg effortlessly and shoots tank shells from one arm.

    What if, 10 years ago, a regular tank runs at 100kph for days, lifts 5 tons effortlessly, and shoots tank shells? Just saying.

    There's a name given for ppl who prefer form over function - losers. And that was, is, and will always be the case.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:42 05/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    I think the point is that this thing might evolve into power armor...which is very much a suitable choice as long as its costs can be kept low enough. Tanks are at huge disadvantage these days so if you could include their firepower and endurance within a human sized form, that'd be revolutionary. But like I said, only if the they could be produced efficiently.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:13 05/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    >as long as its costs can be kept low enough. Tanks are at huge disadvantage these days so if you could include their firepower and endurance within a human sized form, that'd be revolutionary.

    There are already human sized military drones, already at reasonable cost... unless you insist on them walking on two legs and having 2 arms. Or do you mean the arms and legs will somehow give them the durability and firepower of a tank?

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:15 05/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    By consumer robotics, I mean sex dolls

    Avatar of aoitoriko
    Comment by aoitoriko
    09:39 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Absolutely correct. The first Wright brothers
    flight in 1903 was about 120 feet. Look how far aeronautics has advanced in 110 years. This is only the beginning.

    Avatar of Dia
    Comment by Dia
    17:37 04/01/2014 # ! Good (+0.4)

    In 110 years it'll lift the earth!

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:43 05/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    We don't need to, just wait till Chuck Norris starts doing push ups.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:57 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    aerospace has basically stalled since the 60s-70s and even than it wasn't going as fast as the 40s and even some things from the 40s are just now starting to get reused.

    Avatar of Daniel Park
    Comment by Daniel Park
    05:33 05/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well strap on a rocket pack and grab a beam saber and it's perfect.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:01 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    It even looks fragile. My 10 years old can lift 30 kg... Why would anyone need this thing? It would be easier using your own arms.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:02 05/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    With the aging population in Japan, this is certainly not geared towards the young.

    Now grandma can move 30kg without having to worry about break her back or hips.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:15 06/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Ridiculous! You go to a nursing home, SOB. Let your grandparents live in the home they raised you, bitch. It's not yours. Although probably your bitch wife and you know you would get big money if you sell it so you want to take them out.

    ...ungrateful MoFo.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:15 05/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    There's something called a nurse. That's why we put old ppl in homes...

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:20 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    for 3 hours straight?

    Avatar of coquette
    Comment by coquette
    09:46 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Think about it from a consumer point of view.
    If you could rent these it would save a lot of sore backs while loading a truck when moving.
    Remember, this is only the start.

    Avatar of Dia
    Comment by Dia
    17:41 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's not the lifting into the truck, it's the getting the box to the truck. I'm guessing it's pretty hard to climb the stairs with this.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:48 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    what is an illegal mexican

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:36 06/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hilarious~ What is a Pallet Jack(Snark!)?
    +
    To the average consumer, the use of a Pallet Jack is the equivalence of a fully loaded 18 wheeler being used to go to the local convenience store to pick up a gallon of milk!
    +
    This shit could be used by the bent over grannies i saw when I was in Japan in the mid '00s to move shit inside her place of residence. If They can make a modified version of that machine to service the 100s of Thousands of geriatrics there- Fuck Damn! There be money come pouring into their bank accounts!

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:48 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    what is a pallet jack

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:55 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Call me when it's the same price but carries 200kg.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:46 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    @Anon 6:14 - Your immediate wisdom caused me to rethink my nerdrage. I routinely lift 25kg weights daily, and was about to complain. But you're right, I should be excited for the future this holds!

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:26 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    @Anon 06:14

    "...seems kinda weak and umimpressive..."

    Ah, but wait for the military version. Remember, "No one messes with the Ministry of Public Welfare!"*

    *Obligatory "Roujin Z" quote.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:20 04/01/2014 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Baby steps, motherfuckers. Baby steps.

    In 10 years, this thing can lift an entire loaded container.

    Avatar of Lost
    Comment by Lost
    08:26 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    id give it 3.. 5 tops every thing in computers dubles every year.. in 3 lord knows what we will have as "standerd" but it will crush anything current

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:59 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    We'll see if Moore's law also holds true to robotics.
    But for ICs it's about to end right now cause we're nearing the physical limits of transistor size, and therefore switching speed possible considering the charging time of the gate capacitance.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:56 05/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Can you pronounce Quantum?

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:42 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    in 15 it'll still be lifting less than muh dik

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:53 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    *insert joke about cock push-ups here*

    Comment by Dark Mage
    10:31 04/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    The Boston Dynamics one probably will.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:55 05/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    about time someone did make the damn suit

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:02 05/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    This just in:

    Despite decades of robot anime.....THE JAPANESE ACTUALLY FUCKING SUCK AT MAKING REAL ROBOTS.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:35 06/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'll wait for Schaft to make their first production Labor, before I comment further on this.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:57 13/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Just wanted to clear some misunderstandings out of the way. As someone who has actually worked in a depot as orderpicker, I can tell you that 30kg is A LOT, especially if it's not in the handy shape of a barbell and you have several more hours of work in front of you. There is a very good reason (where I live at least) that manual laborers are prohibited from lifting more than 25kg unaided...

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:25 05/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    now pls make and a SCV





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