Technology

Nov 27, 2018

LG SUITBOT

"LG has created a robotic exoskeleton designed to support and enhance its wearer's legs to improve lower limb strength. The suit, named LG CLOi SuitBot, features "naturally-rotating joints" and sandal-like shoes, which LG claimed will enhance a human's body while walking or standing. It could help to reduce physical strain for employees who are on their feet all day for work, such as factory workers."

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Workers in logistics, manufacturing and distribution companies could also use the AI-enabled to share information with other robots as part of a smart working network, the South Korean company said. The SuitBot was developed in collaboration with SG Robotics, which has previously developed robotic suits for people who are partially unable to walk and completely paralysed.

Its WalkOn robot, designed for people with paraplegia, is modelled on human legs and allows them to walk on flat ground and climb inclines. The SuitBot provides support for the wearer's waist and lower back and is secured around legs and feet using thick straps. It can also convert into a wheelchair-like seat, allowing the user to sit down while still wearing the suit. LG plans to showcase the exoskeleton at IFA, Europe's largest tech show, which takes place annually in Berlin.

It joins the company's range of service robots, which includes the Serving Robot, Porter Robot and Shopping Cart Robot, designed for use in hotels, airports and supermarkets. The concept robots, which made their debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, are capable of delivering meals and luggage to hotel guests and around airports, taking payment and comparing produce prices across supermarket brands.

Honda, Panasonic, Audi and Hyundai are among the companies to experiment with exoskeleton suits in recent years in a bid to increase the mobility of the elderly and people with limited movement and reduce strain on engineers and factory workers. For LG, next event will be yet another opportunity to show off the company's skills at creating machines to help humans perform their daily tasks. After all, LG itself says it will focus in the coming years on becoming a leading developer of service robots.

LG-developed robots we've seen before, in the form of the Cleaning Robot or Serving Robot, but a wearable robot we've yet to lay our eyes on. This is how LG describes what the rest of the world sees as an exoskeleton: a wearable robot. But it's a bit more, a smart harness designed to support and enhance a user's legs.

As with any exoskeleton, it uses rotating joints to enhance the wearer's body while walking, standing or working. The connection to the ground is made via sandal-type shoes. Unlike most exoskeletons, this one can be fitted with wheels, thus morphing in a personal transporter of sorts for anyone who uses it. 

And it's smart, too. It can connect to other LG service robots to deliver information and tools required at work sites. The AI powering it can evolve through the recognition and analysis of biometric and environment data, leading to optimal movements and stances for the wearer.

"LG CLOi SuitBot is evidence of our full commitment to expanding our portfolio of service robots that deliver tangible convenience and innovation in our lives," said in a statement Song Dae-hyun, president of LG's Home Appliance & Air Solution Company.

"It's just one example of a wide range of revolutionary AI products designed to interact with users to dramatically elevate user convenience and create new opportunities to advance our robotics initiative into a next-gen growth engine."

The exoskeleton is not currently on sale, but it's likely a commercially available version of it will make its way onto the market soon. 

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