Could Robotic Exoskeletons Achieve Widescale Use by 2022?

New Frost&Sullivan report analyzes applications, tech innovations and timeline to mass-market use.

Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) dons a Power Loader robotic exoskeleton to confront the Xenomorph Queen in the movie Aliens.

Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) dons a Power Loader robotic exoskeleton to confront the Xenomorph Queen in the movie Aliens.

In the movie Aliens, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) dons the Power Loader robotic exoskeleton to take on the Queen Alien in a climactic action scene – one that left the world enamored with the idea of using such a suit for superhuman feats of strength and, of course, for manual labor.

Today, the use of such suits in industries from manufacturing to military to construction is looking more and more likely in the near future.

A new report from Frost & Sullivan’s Techvision Growth Partnership Service program, titled Emerging Robotic Exoskeleton Technologies, analyzes use cases of robotic exoskeletons and recent innovations in the technology.

The report includes a technology road map and determines the impact, growth, adoption rate and role of robotic exoskeletons between 2017 and 2022. The report asserts that by 2022, adoption of robotic exoskeleton technologies will become widescale.

“Robotic exoskeletons augment the wearer’s physical strength and allow them to lift very heavy weights without using machinery,” said Frost & Sullivan TechVision research analyst S. Kasthuri Jagadeesan. “Currently, the industrial automation industry employs back support suits, power gloves and tool holding exoskeletons to improve worker efficiency, as well as reduce fatigue and stress.”

The report exclaims that robotic exoskeletons have found substantial applications in safety and security industries, and can be used by first responders during dangerous evacuation and rescue situations. The military and healthcare industries are reported to be investing heavily in the research and development (R&D) of this technology.

However, the report indicates funding is often tight, partly due to the high R&D costs. The high cost of implementation is acting as a deterrent to mainstream adoption.

“Segmented robotic exoskeletons efficiently perform and address the evolving needs of varied industries, as each segment is designed for particular tasks in particular market segments,” noted Jagadeesan. “In the future, there will be new business opportunities for companies to provide service, software support, and even maintenance/service of exoskeleton suits.”

Once investment and prices in robotic exoskeleton technology stabilizes, and as the technology becomes more refined, there will be greater industry and academic participation in technology development and adoption, Frost & Sullivan said in a statement.

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