The dream of being Tony Stark in your own Iron Man suit has moved one step closer after Panasonic has announced its ‘powered suit’ will go into mass production. The suit will give the super-human strength to the wearer as well as being able to move at the speed of a gentle run for between two and three hours per charge.
The test version of the suit was able to lift objects weighing 100kg and run at a speed of 8km/h on a hill with a ten degree gradient. The mass produced version is designed to lift 30kg for long periods of time.
It won’t be long until people on the streets will be walking around with super-human strength as the suit is set to go on sale in 2015. And it might actually be within reach for many; Panasonic plans to sell the suits at the surprisingly affordable price of just 500,000 Yen (£2,900/$4,900).
A system of mass production is being created for this year and the company hopes to make more than 1,000 per year.
The suit is by no means the first that has been developed to allow superhuman strength but it is the first to be mass produced.
Developed by Panasonic subsidiary Activelink, the suit is powered by a larger version of the batteries used in smartphones and computers. The lithium ion battery powers a motor that allows the suit to grip and release.
It is also possible to programme the arms so they can be used for operations involving hammers and digging – with an attachable hammer and a scoop. The wearer of the suit uses grips near their arms to control the movements of the suit.
Panasonic now plans to partner with other major companies to sell the suit and is also considering the possibility of renting it.
The company sees the suits helping in short-term situations such as emergencies and natural disasters. When these type of suits become the norm they may be able to help save lives on a daily basis.
The suit gives a glimpse into the potential for robotics to aid and enhance human abilities; we can see future versions combining biometrics to aid the movement of those who have suffered physical injuries and disabilities.
It is rumoured that Panasonic is also developing a suit that can be worn under a spacesuit or diving gear to aid movement in different environments.
Image courtesy of Panasonic.