Innovation explained: Exoskeleton

Until now, they have only been known from the screen – exoskeletons. In Iron Man, Tony Stark as the Iron Man uses such an iron man to do good deeds. In “Edge of Tomorrow” Tom Cruise fights an alien invasion in such an augmented battle suit. But the suits that increase human potential are no longer science fiction, they are now a reality.

The field of exoskeletal systems has developed steadily over the last few years and already offers a wide range of applications. According to current estimates, several hundred commercial and experimental exosuits are already in use worldwide. But unlike Iron Man, where Tony Stark runs his suits over the reactor on his chest, the Real Pendants still have a problem with the power supply, which limits their versatility. Nevertheless, the possibilities of the technology are impressive and versatile. The aim of the technology is to provide more individual mobility. For everyone and everywhere. Heavier lifting, more persistent walking or going severe injury again. The exoskeletons are supposed to give the wearer abilities beyond the normal level.


Applications of the exoskeleton


One of the main applications of exoskeletons would be medicine. Here they can contribute to improving the quality of life of patients. For example, people who have lost the use of their legs can return by providing an exosuit. Other motor skills can also be restored with mechanical support.


Hyundai’s medical exoskeleton suit shows the promise of robots (Source: CNET)


Another area of application could be medical care, in particular care. Often nurses have to lift their patients around. Not an easy challenge for nursing staff. A team of Japanese engineers has therefore developed an exoskeleton to help nurses lift and carry patients.

Exoskeletons can also be used in the rehabilitation of patients with stroke or spinal cord injuries. Medical applications are extremely diverse and can fundamentally shape and augment the health care system.



Increasing human potential can bring many advantages not only in medicine and care. There are also a number of possible applications in industry. For example, lifting heavy loads on construction sites or in factory halls.

10 Advanced Exoskeletons and their uses (Source: Freeze Lists)


Exoskeletons such as Panasonic’s Power Loader are offered here. Other companies such as Hyundai are also working on exoskeletons for the industry of tomorrow. The aim is to prevent stress injuries while at the same time improving performance.



The exoskeleton may have been used miloterially, Hollywood has shown the last few years clearly. In reality, however, there is an increasing number of applications for an exoskeleton which, for example, reduces the fatigue of soldiers and increases productivity when unloading relief goods. For example, soldiers can sometimes carry items weighing up to 300 kg when running or climbing stairs. Some military models also have a hydraulic system controlled by an on-board computer. They are powered by an internal combustion engine, batteries or fuel cells.


A look into the future

Although there are relatively few exosuits so far, the list of potential users and application areas is long and growing steadily. Beyond medical applications, target groups such as shipping and industrial workers, loggers and miners can benefit from the robotic suits. Firefighters, emergency services and disaster relief workers could also be equipped with protective exoskeletons to make their work more efficient and safer.

In summary, exoskeletons can fundamentally change the way we work physically. However, new solutions for energy supply and commissioning are needed before this can happen.

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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