Reports say Sigourney Weaver's powerful robotic arm in the cult science-fiction film Aliens has become a reality thanks to Japanese engineers.
A team of six engineers, led by Go Shirogauchi, has created an exo-skeleton arm that is attached to an operator, and can make humans to lift more than 90 kg with ease.
AdvertisementThe Dual-Arm Power Amplification Robot is being developed by Kyoto-based Activelink Co., a unit that is owned and financed by electronics giant Panasonic.
Driven by 18 electromagnetic motors with direct force feedback, the operator can control the arm's movements, including performing delicate manoeuvres.
The researchers, who have been working on the project since 2003 aim to have the device, which is made of an aluminium alloy, ready to go into practical use by 2015.
"The prime use for the arm will be in disaster zones, where wheeled vehicles are unable to operate but heavy weights need to be moved," the Telegraph quoted Shirogauchi as saying.
After completion, the arm will be used as a common platform with a wide range of interchangeable parts that can easily be installed.
Other potential applications include in warehouses and on construction sites.
The only drawback with the robotic machine at present is its weight-about 200 kg, making it difficult to operate without support and limits its applications.
The researchers are currently working to reduce the weight of the unit, which will also make it safer for the operator.
However, the estimated cost of one of the units is Y29 million (200,000 pounds).
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