Inside Logistics

Powered exoskeleton allows human workers to lift 200 pounds

Full-body, powered exoskeletons have potential to transform the industrial workforce


December 12, 2019
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exoskeleton

The full-body exoskeleton will allow a human worker to easily lift 200 lb repetitively

SALT LAKE CITY – Sarcos Robotics has unveiled the Alpha version of its Guardian XO full-body, powered industrial exoskeleton.

It is claimed to be the world’s first battery-powered wearable robot which can safely lift up to 200 pounds for extended work sessions.

Designed to augment rather than replace humans, the Guardian XO combines human intelligence, instinct and judgment with the strength, endurance and precision of machines to address skilled labour shortages and occupational safety issues across many industries.

Safe, intuitive and simple to use, the exoskeleton allows people to accomplish physically demanding tasks without stress or strain on their bodies.

The first Alpha units will ship to members of Sarcos’ Industrial Exoskeleton Technical Advisory Group (X-TAG) and the U.S. military beginning in January 2020. Commercial production units will begin shipping to customers in late 2020.

The Guardian XO has been under development for 20 years, with the initial vision and funding for the effort coming from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and additional funding over the years coming from the U.S. Department of Defense, Fortune 500 industrial companies and private investors.

“The Guardian XO is a great example of what can happen when private industry and government join forces with a small, innovative team to address a common challenge,” said Ben Wolff, chairman and CEO, Sarcos Robotics.

Sarcos’ X-TAG, which was assembled beginning in 2016 and announced in 2018, includes companies across a variety of industries including industrial manufacturing, oil & gas, utilities, logistics, construction, automotive, aviation and aerospace. The X-TAG members have played an integral role in assisting with the functional design, as well as performance and safety requirements, to ensure that the Guardian XO meets the needs of a myriad of use cases across various industries.

“Full-body, powered exoskeletons have significant potential to transform the industrial workforce as we know it,” said Remy Glaisner, research director for intelligent operational systems and robotics, IDC.

“From improving worker strength, efficiency and safety to reducing occupational injuries caused by repetitive heavy lifting, the Guardian XO is poised to be a game-changer for a wide variety of industries.”

“The Guardian XO Alpha units are the culmination of twenty years of effort by our team and represent a huge step forward as we prepare to ship our first commercial Guardian XO wearable robots to our customers in the latter part of 2020,” said Wolff.

“Delivery of our Alpha units represents the first time in history that industrial and military customers will gain access to a full-body, powered exoskeleton that can safely enable humans to intuitively lift and dexterously manipulate objects weighing up to 200 pounds and walk at human speed for extended work sessions. With the growing shortage of skilled labour across industries and the rising social and economic costs associated with occupational musculoskeletal injuries, we have an enormous opportunity to benefit employees and companies alike.”