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posted by martyb on Thursday December 07, @10:46PM   Printer-friendly
from the approved-by-Ellen-Louise-Ripley,-believe-it-or-not dept.

away from the the fictional world of blockbusting movies, robotic exoskeletons offer more prosaic and useful help for humans.

The military has been in on the act for years, using them to help soldiers carry more weight for longer periods of time. Meanwhile manufacturers have been busy creating robotic suits to give mobility to people with disabilities.

But now exoskeletons are becoming an important part of the scene in more conventional workplaces, mainly because of their unique offering.

"Exoskeletons act as a bridge between fully-manual labour and robotic systems. You get the brains of people in the body of a robot," says Dan Kara, research director at ABI Research.

"But there's more to it than that. You can tie the use of exoskeletons to business benefits that are very easy to quantify. The main one is a reduction in work-related injuries, and we know that outside the common cold, back injury is the main reason people are off work."

Can exoskeletons defeat union rules?


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  • (Score: 4, Funny) by krishnoid on Thursday December 07, @10:52PM (2 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday December 07, @10:52PM (#607026)

    "You get the brains of people in the body of a robot," says Dan Kara, research director at ABI Research.

    This way they can take the remainder of each and turn them into super-management.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by maxwell demon on Thursday December 07, @11:00PM (1 child)

    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 07, @11:00PM (#607030) Journal

    Can exoskeletons defeat union rules?

    Imagine how powerful an union worker in an exoskeleton would be. That would be a hell of a strike!

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 08, @03:22AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 08, @03:22AM (#607076)

      Let's see somebody cross -that- picket line.

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday December 08, @12:23AM (10 children)

    Unions should be greatly in favor of this but I doubt they will be. It would turn dangerous, unskilled labor positions into much safer, skilled labor positions. Unfortunately it would also cut the number of unskilled jobs, which unions are generally too short-sighted to let happen.

    --
    Save Ferris!
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 08, @01:10AM (8 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 08, @01:10AM (#607060)

      The two largest groups of unionized workers are .gov (civil serpents and teachers) and service employees (largely unskilled culinary and janitorial workers). Neither of these have any particular need for augmented speed, strength or dexterity.

      The skilled trades are pretty good at adapting to technology, as witnessed by the automation revolution in the automotive and aerospace industries.

      What we need is an autonomous robotic boot, which seeks out the asses of under-performing government slugs.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday December 08, @02:11AM (7 children)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 08, @02:11AM (#607067)

        What we need is an autonomous robotic boot, which seeks out the asses of under-performing government slugs.

        If it stops at the level of just "seeking out" those asses, may I suggest something more slender and penetrative than a boot?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 08, @03:25AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 08, @03:25AM (#607077)

          Oh, quit bragging about your needledick.

          -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday December 08, @03:44AM

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 08, @03:44AM (#607083)

            quit bragging about your needledick.

            I didn't, mate, I couldn't find it for quite a looong time... perhaps it was something related with a haystack, but... you know how it happens... the mind is the second thing to go. See... outta sight (without glasses), outta mind (deh, age)... I could not have thought of it, much less to brag about.

            But now that you mentioned, maybe one could use yours in a hurry. You volunteer?

            (large grin... fortunately, I have all my teeth intact).

        • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Friday December 08, @03:26AM (3 children)

          by MostCynical (2589) on Friday December 08, @03:26AM (#607078)

          So, ŵill the kinky staff will under-perform *on purpose*?

          --
          (Score: tau, Irrational)
          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday December 08, @03:32AM (2 children)

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 08, @03:32AM (#607080)

            I'm sorry I can't answer, I don't know "ŵill the kinky staff".

        • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 08, @04:18AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 08, @04:18AM (#607092)

          If it means buggering the bureaucrats, tally ho!

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Friday December 08, @06:39PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Friday December 08, @06:39PM (#607335) Journal

      People who don't work anymore because of disabling back injuries also don't pay union dues anymore....

      In my direct experience with the Teamsters they were always pretty supportive of safety investments. In fact, they mostly complained when we didn't invest in safety.

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