Innophys Co Ltd makes assistive suits which use compressed air to power artificial muscles (known as McKibben artificial muscles) in order to provide back support when carrying people or heavy goods, or when working while bent over.
Their consumer model, the Muscle Suit Every, went on sale in November 2019 and has been available at retailers such as BIC Camera and Yodobashi Camera as well as online at Amazon.co.jp. At 136,000 yen, it's a solution well within reach for many members of the general public.
ISO 13482 Certified
When trying out new technology, especially something like an exosuit which you strap on to your body, it's only natural that there would be some hesitation and concerns about safety. What if the device malfunctions and hurts the wearer? What if it breaks in mid-use, causing damage to property (Ex: movers carrying furniture) or even bodily injury to others (Ex: nursing home staff lifting patients)? Questions like these may cross the mind of anyone considering a product like this.
Many of these concerns will be quelled now that the Muscle Suit Every has received a seal of approval from the International Organization for Standardization. Established in 2014, ISO 13482 "specifies requirements and guidelines for the inherently safe design, protective measures, and information for use of personal care robots (which comprises) mobile servant robot, physical assistant robot, and person carrier robot." As such, the Muscle Suit Every is the world's first exosuit to receive this certification.
Weighing only 3.8 kg, the Muscle Suit Every is nevertheless capable of delivering up to 25.5 kilogram-force (100 Newtons). Some of the possible applications mentioned in their promotional material are nursing care support, farming, shoveling snow or other labor-intensive jobs, maintaining uncomfortable positions and carrying heavy loads.
Commercial campaign with Masatoshi Hamada
In Innophys' ad campaign, comedian and entertainer Masatoshi Hamada, known as the more petulant and irascible member of the veteran comic duo Downtown, gets in touch with his "nice side" after donning a Muscle Suit Every. Newly equipped with "muscles," he's inspired to lend a helping hand and even fight off monsters. Of course, the idea that he would want more muscles could also be a jab at his Downtown partner Hitoshi Matsumoto, who bulked up through bodybuilding in recent years.
Here he is helping in a nursing home:
You can watch the video here:
For more information about the Muscle Suit Every, please visit Innophys' website here.
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