- Delta and Sarcos robotics demonstrated their exoskeleton for the first time
- The Guardian XO can lift up to 200lbs with minimal effort by the wearer
- Delta says a 130 lbs airplane tire feels like lifting only 20lbs
- It can also hoist 70lbs bags of luggage using just one of its arms
- The suit could go into production as soon as late 2020
Delta may be known for its airplanes, but a new and surprisingly dexterous exoskeleton may be their next product to take off.
The suit, called the Guardian XO, is a relatively small full-body exoskeleton that the company envisions will be used for heavy duty construction and commercial applications that requires brute strength.
In a demonstration of the all-electric suit at CES in Las Vegas – the first ever public demo of the device – Delta and its partner Sarcos Robotics showed off the exoskeleton’s capabilities.
The demonstrator – a moderately sized young man by the name of Ben – strapped himself into the suit in just a couple minutes and started the first trial.
‘It’s a pretty comfortable machine, I can move around as if I wasn’t wearing this,’ said Ben who told the audience that he had only been training with the suit for about four months.
Using the suit’s arms and a pair of metal prongs, or fingers, the demonstrator showed how the Guardian was able to pick up an airplane tire, which weigh around 130 lbs, and place it on an axle.
That weight was still well below the suit’s peak capacity of about 200lbs.
This maneuver would normally require an entire team, but the company says with the suit’s assistance, lifting an object of that weight feels like lifting less than 20 lbs – about a 20 times reduction.
In a second demonstration, Delta equipped the exosuit with a different pair of prongs, each of which have a pair of metal fingers.
Using its new set of hands, called ‘end-effectors’ the Guardian was able to handle another strenuous job of airline employees – moving luggage.
The suit was able to use just one arm to lift and carry a piece of 70 lbs luggage, and then use both hands simultaneously to lift 50lbs ad 60lbs begs on either side.
The Guardian is designed to have a low impact on the wearer and has a weight equivalent to wearing a backpack, according to Delta.
It also has full range of motion, meaning the wearer can walk forward, backward and side-to-side in addition to moving their arms in any direction.
Using a pair of lithium batteries that can be ‘hot-swapped’ – meaning they can be changed while the device is still active – the device can run for eight hours at a time, according to Delta.
What’s even more exciting about the exoskeleton is that the device will come to market relatively soon.
Sarcos Robotics said it’s currently accepting orders for the Guardian XO and will deliver production units in late 2020.