Sarcos Robotics, producer of robotic systems that augment, rather than replace humans working in the industrial, public safety, and military sectors, have announced a number of significant technological advancements for its Guardian XO Max, a full-body, powered industrial exoskeleton robotic system. The suit will enable an operator to safely lift and manipulate up to 200 pounds.
With 17 years of development efforts and more than $175 million invested in research and development, the Guardian XO Max is guaranteed to be safe, intuitive, and power efficient. Initial testing has demonstrated an unprecedented reduction in power consumption, with the system requiring less than 400 watts of power while walking at human speed. This reduction represents a more than 90% decrease in power typically required for humanoid robots and allows for work sessions of up to eight hours on a single charge. The unit is also designed to allow its battery modules to be “hot swapped” in the field within seconds without loss of power to the unit.
In addition to these power advancements, the Guardian XO Max will usher in a new era of intuitive user experiences through implementation of Sarcos’ proprietary advanced control system, called “Get-Out-of-the-Way” control, to simplify the operation and use of the suits.
Designed to eliminate any perception of latency between the movement of the human operator and the exoskeleton, Sarcos’ Get-Out-of-the-Way control system relies on a suite of sensors integrated into the exoskeleton. This control system enables the Guardian XO Max to respond to the human operator’s movements in milliseconds and minimizes the need for human training. In addition, the exoskeleton design allows a worker to get in and out of the suit in less than one minute.
Reducing Load Strain to Improve Worker Safety
Occupational back injuries cost U.S. employers more than $100 billion annually, underscoring the need to improve worker safety. Sarcos has designed the Guardian XO Max to be full-body and fully-powered, meaning the entire weight of the suit, as well as its payload, is transferred through the suit’s structure to the ground. This results in offloading 100% of the weight the worker is bearing, as well as the weight of the suit itself, and thereby reducing the operator’s risk of strain or injury. Initial testing of the Guardian XO Max has demonstrated a strength amplification of 20 to one.
Expanding Commitment to Exoskeleton Excellence
In addition to its product advancements, Sarcos continues to foster innovation in the robotics industry. The company, in collaboration with Virginia Tech University, recently announced a $3 million award from the National Science Foundation to conduct fundamental research to evaluate controls and human-machine interfaces for powered exoskeletons.
Earlier this year, Sarcos also formed its Exoskeleton Technical Advisory Board (X-TAG), which is comprised of executives from leading companies across a variety of industries such as industrial manufacturing, automotive, aviation and aerospace, construction, oil & gas, logistics and utilities. The X-TAG is working to identify key performance and safety requirements necessary to ensure that the Guardian XO Max meets the needs of the customer.
“We’ve already seen significant early interest in pre-orders across numerous industries, and we are working closely with the members of the X-TAG to ensure that the Guardian XO Max delivers on productivity needs, while keeping workers safe and out of harm’s way,” adds Wolff.
Sarcos’ Guardian XO Max is expected to be released commercially in late 2019 and begin shipping to customers in early 2020. The product will be offered exclusively through a fee-based Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) model.