We All Will Be "Iron Man" Soon

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Many were taking in by the film series "Iron Man". Starring Robert Downey Jr, it was a blockbuster franchise.

While it was futuristic in what is presented. Many focus upon Jarvis, the personal AI assistant that was central in the film. However, the suit is what is really going to be close to coming to reality.

We are not likely to see flying anytime soon, we are about to see super human strength given to humans.


The body armor we are referring to is called "exoskeleton". This is providing people with the ability to do things that humans previously could not. It is giving workers not only super human strength as well working tirelessly.

Like any technology, things start out very expensive and raw in their build. However, there will come improvements over time.

Present use cases are industrial whereby workers who are doing repetitive tasks on a line are enhanced by wearing exoskeleletons.

That said, there is one company, California SuitX, that expects to take this mainstream.

"There is no doubt in my mind that these devices will eventually be sold at hardware stores," says SuitX's founder Homayoon Kazerooni. "As the prices come down you'll be able to simply buy them at Home Depot."

If we reach the point where these devices are sold at Home Depot, we will see every weekend warrior provided with super human strength. Imagine what people will be able to do when they can pick up a few hundred pounds.

That aside, the biggest changes can happen in industry. Employees will be able to move massive amounts of poundage for long stretches of time. This will work in airports, plants, and even the restaurant business.

Excitement aside, we are going to have to see a lot of advancement in this arena, especially when it comes to price.

At the moment, however, more widespread adoption of exoskeleton technology is still held back by a number of factors, including battery capacity, limited range of motion, and cost.

"The average cost [of a full-body exoskeleton] is around $45,000," says Accenture's Mr Spragg. "However, with economies of scale and technological maturity, prices will come down."

Obviously, at that price, few companies, let alone individuals, are going to be using these devices. Over time, however, we are going to see this follow the usual technology curve. That means prices will plummet as the technology advances.


The biggest advantage to all this is the fact that injuries can be prevented. This will likely push down costs associated with missed time, insurance costs, and medical costs. It all factors in to the prices consumers end up paying.

As the above image shows, repetitive jobs can be enhanced by the technology to protect people from getting the injuries associated with those type of tasks. Also, since the devices are smart, pressure applied can be altered to maintain consistent manufacturing.

Like most technologies, the limitations are only based upon our imagination. People are going to figure out new use cases in addition to the opportunities we see now.

"Integrating humans and machines into one system opens up a new realm of opportunity," says Adrian Spragg, an expert on the technology at management consultancy Accenture. "Many of the early applications have been focused on military and medical applications, but in the last several years there's been an explosion of use in a range of cases."


How all of this will change business is yet to be determines. As we see, costs could end up dropping a great deal as workplace injuries are reduced. One of the biggest advantages to technology is increasing productivity. The blending of people with machines will improve their capabilities.

Over time, this will be a standard part of the industrial world. Employees will be better protected while productivity will be increased. The ability to operate for longer periods of time will present another challenge as companies will seek to exploit that.

Nevertheless, worker safety is still a major concern for many. Companies tend to overlook this, trying to get away with as much as they can. Here we see the incentive to invest in something that will help worker safety, increased productivity.

After that, we will see the do-it-yourself people at Home Depot buying these suits.

This is all bringing us one step closer to being Tony Stark.

Now if the suits would just fly and be connected to Jarvis.

We will have to wait a bit longer on that.

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It sure is interesting but its way more realistic compared to giant robots. But even with exoskeletons, I think eventually people will be removed from the situation and thus we will be automated out. However it will mean it will be easier to get around and distance will probably no longer be much of a problem.

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I agree with you but it is also a part of the path forward. Robotics is still dealing with dexterity issues. Exoskeletons remove it from the equation.

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This will also be huge for disabled people or rehab after injury/accidents, only concern I have is people relying so much on these at some point that muscle atrophy will become a serious issue. Even right now with simple braces and stuff I'm very careful to only use it when needed instead of just leaving it on as a preventive measure.

What do you think about implications for sports? You think there will be an exo-league in certain types of sports? It could be pretty exciting once the technology advances.

Those with disabilities can certainly benefit in a great way. It will also help those who are aged and suffering from those things that harm us as we get older.

Sports is an interesting question. With the increase in eSports, I have a feeling many physical sports, at least as a spectator sport, will diminish.

But we will see. It might be like PEDs, they will have to be banned to prevent too many advantages.

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Agreed, I do believe eSports and physical sports can coexist and will probably do that for the foreseeable future. With PEDs you have the ethical discussion of the harm done to the body and some using it and some not (I do think there's a lot of pro's taking it on cycle that we haven't found out about) but with the exoskeleton it could possibly prevent injuries and increase spectacle and at the same time it's fair since nobody can hide it (at least for now) they'd just need a separate league.

Good point on the elderly, might actually be worth living longer with increased mobility

I’m Mars man

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Honestly can't wait! Yard work is a pain in the ass lol

I live in an apartment.

No worries for me.

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Same here...

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I don't agree, I like it ! But for now, I also live in an apartment :')

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That is interesting - my only question is will it be a step on the path towards full robotic solutions, or will it fail to ever metalize and get surpassed by full robots.

Personally I love the MECH idea from so many movies, The Matrix comes to mind with their huge fighting exo skeletons! No clue if that will ever happen, but it does make for fun entertainment.

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I think you are dealing with two different paths of technological advancement. With full blown robotics, that is something companies are working upon. The potential is there but we will have to see how they unfold.

With exoskeletons, they are designed to work with humans. I dont think the concept here is to be fully autonomous.

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Imagine the day, IT job description no longer says able to lift 50lb or more equipment.

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Yeah just read the exoskeleton that said limit 1,000 pounds. LOL

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I gotta get me one of those - I would love to be able to build houses again...

It hurts me stands up more than 30 mins which really sucks -

I can't wait for the day I can just upload myself to the interweb and escape the pain

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I can't wait for the day I can just upload myself to the interweb and escape the pain

Some believe that day is coming. Not sure how realistic it is but there are many working in that direciton.

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I'd love to see that! One thing I'd really like to do is building a small home with my bare hands. Nothing too fancy or big, just a small cabin perhaps.

Something like that would really help to speed up the process and would make up for some of my lack of skills and experience.

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Yeah instead of a crane you could just pick things up and place them. LOL

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what comes first: becoming iron men, or being replaced with robots ? :P

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Due to the dexterity issues, I think this is a more likely path in the medium term. Eventually robots might do it all. However, there are lots of things that still require humans because of the difficulty in picking things up and maneuvering them.

Plus the costs will likely drop a lot quicker than robots, making them a sensible choice for companies in the industrial realm.

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I think I read about this in the past and would have appreciated to have such a skeleton when I was working as a production worker. Now I'd rather write about these things 😁

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LOL isnt that the truth. You can scale much better.

Of course there is the issue of carpal tunnel from typing so much. We will have to work on automating that next.

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That is pretty awesome. If they could cut down on back injuries they could effectively eliminate a handful of issues all at once. Medical bills, lost wages, high insurance costs, opiate addictions. All that kind of stuff that stems from simple back injuries. Any kind of injury of course, but back ones seem to be some of the most common and painful. They effectively disable you from doing pretty much anything.

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Yeah there is an across the board benefit. The number of issues physically many employees suffer is astounding. If we have these as commonplace, many will feel like they have the ability to work longer years before their bodies give out.

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Amazing tech, This will reduce more unskilled labour demand because one man can handle multiple tasks.

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I didn't know this was so advanced. For me the price for those was still at 100-150k !

The problem is that I can't imagine it being sold under $2-5k. And a lot of companies are juste watching short term, and for them even if this could help them and make them sale a lot over years, they just see that if they want to equip their employees, they'll need to pay $40k.

Maybe I'm totally wrong and companies like Xiaomi will sell it at $200 next to their TV's

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