Sunday, January 27, 2019

"Exoskeletons are the new weapon of choice for ambitious criminals"

From Wired:

Strength-enhancing, motorised exoskeletons are already toiling away in factories. It's only a matter of time before they're used for more nefarious means
Depending on the mix of notes, £1,000,000 in cash weighs roughly 25 kilograms. That’s hardly light, but it’s not such a burden it can’t be carried by a modestly fit bank robber. If a more ambitious bandit wants to up her game, however, she should consider the benefits of an industrial exoskeleton. Bricks of cash would almost be too easy; why not just walk out with the safe they’re housed in, instead?

Our lives are more futuristic than we think when exoskeleton-enhanced burglary crews are a real, emerging security concern. Home invasion, art theft, even the industrial-scale plundering of precious-metal refineries will all be made exponentially easier with the arrival of mechanised outerwear. Imagine the Hatton Garden heist pulled off not with concrete drills but with gyroscopically stabilised exoskeletons helping to rip the doors off safe-deposit boxes, and you have seen the future of breaking and entering. 

Strength-enhancing, motorised exoskeletons are already toiling away on shipbuilding yards in South Korea, where workers are using them to help assemble container ships for the likes of Daewoo. In 2016, Hyundai similarly debuted what they call “wearable robots”, giving users the strength to lift hundreds of kilograms at a time. 

Ben Wolff is CEO of Sarcos Robotics, a Salt Lake City-based firm with roots in the world of US defense contracting. Sarcos has emerged from the fog of war, however, and set its mechanical feet onto the more clement fields of workplace safety. 

Assistive exoskeletons are not just good for loading missiles onto warplanes. They can also reduce long-term joint pain and repetitive back injuries for vulnerable workers – and allow those of us who don’t go to the gym to break open locked doors or pop low-security padlocks with the flick of a mechanically enhanced wrist.

Sarcos recently debuted a new line of motorised exoskeletons called the Guardian XO Max. These suits can operate for eight hours on a single charge and will weigh less than 70 kilos when they hit the open market in late 2019. The XO Max will arrive at your place of business – or your secret burglary den – encased inside its own charging pod. A single suit takes less than 30 seconds to don. Existing models allow users to lift approximately 90 kilograms, a number that will only increase as the technology improves....MORE