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Powerful Exoskeleton Brings Transhumanism to Factories

Screengrab from embedded YouTube video

The idea of using technology to improve humans has been around for decades, but transhumanism is only now starting to touch the immense potential it has. The latest addition is a pair of robotic arms that can carry a load of half a ton.

Called Guardian GT, these seven-foot robotic arms can each lift 230 kg, while the wearer will only feel the force of about two kilograms, Wired notes, which basically means you’ll act like Superman while wearing them.

The robotic arms are the creation of Sarcos Robotics and are intended to be used for emptying disposal bins, moving heavy pipes and other heavy loads. Video of them in action shows they are quite dexterous, mostly because they are kinematically equivalent, which means they are arranged like a human. In essence, the human controlling the arms doesn’t have to compensate the robot’s movements through his own because they’re just a sized-up version of the human body. Furthermore, once the machine picks something up, the human can feel it, which helps the person better operate the machinery, especially when needing to turn switches, or press buttons, or any other work that’s more delicate than picking up a heavy load.

Such a machine would do wonders on construction sites because it would free up other machinery that’s normally needed to operate such heavy loads, like a crane, plus several workers that would be needed to help out. It is just another example of how technology has changed and will change the role of humans in this type of work, and how the industries, in general, are changing at a rapid pace. The reality is that there are jobs that humans can’t do and which robots are just better at, as well as jobs that robots will never be able to overtake, like those that involve judgment.

No one says this machine is easy to operate, and it’s certainly going to take some getting used to for whoever ends up controlling it, but no one can deny that this is going to be useful.

What is important to note here is that this is a robot that requires constant control from a human, and there’s nothing sci-fi about it – the robot mimics the exact way the human moves its own hands, so there’s no brain-control enabled as we’ve seen in movies. There’s also no automation there, so the robot can’t do things on its own.

This Is the Future

The idea of transhumanism, which is a movement that aims to improve humans with the help of technology, both in the intellectual and physical sense, has been around for decades. In the past few years, there have been quite a few advances made, including exoskeletons, wireless, prosthetic eyes, and more. Even the idea of microchipping employees is starting to pick up speed as more companies are testing this technology to help increase the cybersecurity of the workplace.

This advanced human has become part of what we now call futurism – an image of the future ahead of us, where we are more physically capable, smarter, more capable of fixing issues around us. These new capabilities don’t just come from within, but from technology, whether we’re talking about physically-enhancing gear, or some type of artificial intelligence helping us solve the issues we encounter at work.

In his book called “The Imperfect Secret,” cyber-secret futurist Arthur Keleti notes that it is expected that cybersecurity experts lead the way among the ever-changing world of technological progress we live in. Transhumanism is one of the issues they need to be taken into consideration in this future we talk of, but even with everything that’s happening, even experts feel like they are just entering the playing field. The number of changes that need to be taken into consideration in order to properly plan the future’s security is extremely high.

“Although we will still be here in the future as the human race, who knows in what shape or form? The changes will not be restricted to our physical bodies or certain capabilities, but also our minds, self-image and social habits. This must be taken into consideration when planning future security,” Keleti writes.

For instance, playing around with an exoskeleton like this one could be quite fun and it’s something we’re certainly going to see more in the future. Additionally, other similar robots that will help people walk again are also in testing, like this SuitX which is already helping people. 

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