Factory workers are getting Ironman-like suits that let them lift huge weights.
The Chinese mech-suits are hoped to reduce injuries and let older workers carry on working.
Car manufacturer General Motors is testing the exoskeletons by Shanghai-based ULS Robotics.
Hyundai and Ford are also keen on using the state-of-the battery-powered gear.
They are being tested at China Southern Airlines, Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the new Beijing Daxing International Airport as well.
The suits are reminiscent of those worn by the Marvel superhero Iron Man played by Robert Downey Jnr.
But they come with sensors that can detect if the user is slacking off.
The tech was originally developed for wheelchair users or people with limited mobility.
But it's now been adapted for industrial jobs that can't be done by AI robots.
ULS Robotics founder Xu Zhenhua said businesses have been putting “emphasis on corporate social responsibility and labour protection” in a bid to avoid workplace-related injuries.
He said the suits have sensors that boost the users' efficiency, saying: “In an automated procedure, it’s easier to detect work inefficiencies and make adjustments.
“It’s harder to know a worker’s status. Wearable equipment can help.”
Star Wars and Marvel shows head Disney+ launch announcement
The company is developing three exoskeletons that workers can wear to hold and lift heavy equipment.
One is for the upper body, another goes around the waist and the third focuses on the lower limbs.
The first two weigh about seven kilograms each and allow a wearer to lift an additional 20 kilograms.
They’re powered by a lithium battery that has a life of about six to eight hours.
An investor in the tech, Huang Mingming, said: “In the past 30 years, China gained an advantage because we had many young people and a low-cost labour force.
“However aging and a declining birthrate started from the early 2010s. While the auto industry is already highly automated, experienced workers are still needed for the final general assembly. That’s not replaceable.”
Source: Read Full Article