Robotics firm working with industry to bring full-body exoskeleton systems to the workforce

Sarcos' Guardian XO exoskeleton system. Image: Sarcos Robotics

A U.S. company advancing the production of robotic systems that combine human and machine attributes has formed an industry focused Exoskeleton Technical Advisory Group (X-TAG) to move the technology forward in industries such as oil and gas, manufacturing, automotive and construction.

Sarcos Robotics develops mobile, dexterous, tele-operated robots that combine human intelligence, instinct and judgment with robotic strength, endurance and precision to augment worker performance. The robotic products are designed to save lives, reduce injury and improve productivity, the company says. Its investors include Schlumberger, Caterpillar, GE Ventures and Microsoft.

The X-TAG is working with Sarcos and industry groups to identify key performance and safety requirements necessary to bring powered and quasi-passive, full-body industrial exoskeleton systems to the workforce.

Advisory group members include senior executives from Schlumberger, Bechtel, BMW, Caterpillar, Delta Air Lines, GE, Würth Industrie Service GmbH & Co. KG and other leading companies representing aviation, construction, heavy machinery and utilities.

“GE is investing in emerging technologies such as exoskeletons and human-assisted wearables to prevent injuries and unplanned downtime,” Sam Murley, GE EHS Digital Acceleration Leader, said in a statement.

Sarcos’ exoskeleton systems are energetically autonomous and highly dexterous, capable of extended work sessions in a variety of different work environments. Intuitive to operate and easy to put on and take off, the exoskeleton operator bears none of the weight of the robot or the payload carried by the robot.

Sarcos Guardian GT exoskeleton system can be custom ordered to meet customer’s specific requirements, while the Guardian XO and XO MAX robots are in development and are expected to be commercially available in late 2019, said the company, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, with additional offices in the Seattle area.

“The opportunity to deploy powered, full-body industrial exoskeletons that reduce injury and dramatically enhance human strength, endurance and precision is more proximate than most people realize,” said Ben Wolff, chairman and CEO of Sarcos Robotics.

“Top innovators, thought leaders and industry experts across key industries have joined with us to create the safest, most productive and cost-effective workforce in the world and provide us with industry and safety requirements guidance to ensure we meet industry needs in advance of commercial deployment.”