Since the release of Iron Man, the idea of a robotic exo-skeleton has been more and more popular. There are actually several exo-skeletons being developed by different research and engineering groups to fulfill various purposes. Lockheed Martin has developed a suit for soldiers to wear on their chests and legs that makes traversing rough terrain while carrying heavy gear easier. A university group of researchers has developed another leg-based suit intended for use by people who have lost the use of their legs. However, both of these suits are highly expensive and neither is ready for the market yet. But there is one similar product that is cheap, simple to manufacture, and almost ready for use by the general public. It’s called the Titan Arm and it increases the lifting capacity of the user by forty pounds.
Though this kind of technology has a lot of potential after more development, right now this product’s primary purpose is to aid patients who are going through physical therapy. In the future it is intended to be controlled by brain waves or muscle sensors, but the device is currently operated using a joystick. The device has an eighteen-pound backpack which contains the gears and motor, and a plastic jointed sleeve where the user puts his or her arm. The force is applied at the elbow and a ratchet lock can lock the arm into place at a specific angle. It currently costs $1,500, and that is one of the most striking aspects of it. I think that we will see an increase in devices like this in the future, possibly to lift heavy loads and even in combat.