Power Loader: Panasonic venture accepts orders for mecha robot suits (video)

Walking vehicles, also known as mecha, don’t play a big role in today’s robotics industry, but that might soon change. (You might remember one of the protagonists in Avatar sitting in a mecha, called AMP in the movie, during the final fight.) Now Tokyo-based robot venture Activelink, a Panasonic spin-off company, says it can make one for you, too.

The startup has begun accepting orders for their aptly named Power Loader, a power-amplifying robotic suit that enables humans to carry loads of up to 100kg. Users need to strap their feet to the mecha’s legs and hold the grips to control the two utility arms. They are then able to lift heavy loads as high as 2m and carry them around.

Weighing 230kg by itself, the Panasonic exoskeleton stands 1.6m tall. Obviously, the main target here are construction businesses, but the Power Loader could also come in handy after natural disasters and such.

Activelink says they’ve been constantly working on making the mecha easier to use and walk around in and that they are now ready to produce custom-made units. There’s one drawback though: The first practical versions will not be ready before 2015 (unfortunately).

Here’s the official Power Loader promo video. I bet it’s just a coincidence the music used in it sounds just like the Akira soundtrack:

Via The Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]