away from the the fictional world of blockbusting movies, robotic exoskeletons [bbc.co.uk] 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?