Lifting weights in a Panasonic exosuit destined for the Tokyo Olympics

Unstrapped, I lifted the 20-kg plates once more, beneath my very own steam. I felt a more durable ‘pull’ returning — it isn’t that I can not elevate the plates with out the Mannequin Y, it is merely simpler with it.

Whereas most of us can deal with lifting and shifting a 10kg-weight plate or two, loaders throughout competitions like this should cope with larger weight plates and shift greater than 100 of them over the span of a contest. The discount in muscle fatigue is outwardly one in every of a number of advantages, in keeping with Panasonic. The fits enhance security, serving to spotters catch free weights or when an athlete loses management of the barbell. With much less stress on the loader’s again, it quickens the complete course of, as they calibrate the load on the bar for every athlete.


This was the primary look of Mannequin Y help at a powerlifting competitors exterior of Japan, however Panasonic’s newest exosuit has carried out the identical duties at a number of meets in its residence nation. In line with Takashi Tsurumaru, who works within the Enterprise Growth division of ATOUN (partially owned by Panasonic, which established the spin-off firm), there have been no main modifications to the go well with between these competitions.

The Mannequin Y does, nevertheless, come from a protracted line of energy help fits. In comparison with the now-discontinued Mannequin A, the Y is lighter and extra streamlined. It weighs roughly 50 % much less, whereas it could work for twice as lengthy between costs. The design can be much more streamlined. That mentioned, in over 15 years of improvement, the fashions have gotten dearer — and larger.


However at roughly four.5kg, the Mannequin Y is the lightest energy go well with in its class. It additionally has IP55 score and may be worn outdoor and in wet climate.

These specs are additional proof that the Mannequin Y is not constructed expressly for weightlifting competitions. Within the run-up to this subsequent yr’s Olympics, Japanese corporations like Panasonic shall be teasing the sheer breadth of expertise it could showcase on the Video games. The ATOUN Mannequin Y was a part of that, strapped on to assistants in airports so they may effortlessly unload suitcases. The corporate envisions the fits serving to human labor in development, farming and logistics — wherever repetitive bodily duties are commonplace.

Not the exosuit you are ready for?

NININ

This may be the buttoned-up actuality of fits for now, however the firm has a number of prototypes that appear much more sci-fi. Its NIO mission is a heavy-lifting exosuit that might look good on Ripley, whereas the NININ ‘Clever Help Chair’, apparently geared toward workplace work, seems to be like the proper work furnishings for an evil genius.

Tsurumaru notes that nursing residence employees may use energy help fits to elevate or flip older sufferers. The ATOUN crew can be wanting into “strolling help fashions” and places the place these exosuits may work. Corporations in Asia are very a lot — Panasonic says ATOUN has offered lots of of energy fits already.

Its appearances in Tokyo, whether or not on the Paralympic stage or merely on the airport, would have helped ATOUN garner worldwide consideration, however the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics have put a pin in these plans for now. Panasonic reiterated to Engadget that it was “dedicated to supporting the Olympics subsequent yr.”

Maybe by 2021, ATOUN may have a brand new mannequin to showcase to guests.

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