It’s hard out there for men and women who are not the multi-armed goddess of destruction and rebirth, Kālikā. MIT researchers have created a pair of robotic arms that connect to your shoulders and give you another pair of pinchers to help you lift heavy objects, keep objects in place while you attach them overhead, or subjugate Lord Shiva with your power to both create and destroy.
The arms “watch” what your real arms are doing and, using video analysis, try to pitch in when needed. The project is sponsored by Boeing and the company hopes to use the technology, called Supernumerary Robotic Limbs, to help its workforce in factories and loading docks.
The system weighs ten pounds and attaches to your upper or lower back. The creators, Baldin Llorens-Bonilla and H. Harry Asada, call the system “A Robot on the Shoulder” and hope to bring it to market soon. Another system would include arms that can move back and create a sort of pair of tripod-like legs to help support humans as they lift large objects. These tools are superior to exoskeletons in that they are much lighter and won’t trap the user if they break or run out of battery. These extra arms are also pretty amazing-looking and, with a bit of plastic cladding and some cool stickers, I could imagine these on the football fields of the future, massive men horking giant balls at each other while smacking each other out of the way with their robotic arms.