Holding your arm out straight in place for long periods of time could be a strenuous task that many of us can’t undertake without feeling a considerable amount of pain.
But for surgeons, tattoo artists and jewelers whose occupations require them to hold their limbs in weird positions, it’s part of the job. An exoskeletal arm, however, could give them the bionic capabilities to do their work without the limitations of human endurance.
Equipois’s mechanical arm X-Ar acts like a steadicam, the mechanism created to help filmmakers create stable handheld shots like this one. (Please excuse the Eurovision contestant’s cheesy music, but the shot and how they do it is pretty impressive.):
Unlike their previous invention, the zeroG, the X-Ar attaches to the user’s arm instead of the machine or gadget it is being used on. The device feels almost weightless, thanks to the mechanical assistance functions and can help surgeons perform operations for hours without feeling tired, according to a story by Fast Company.
“Now you need young, burly guys to operate 15 pound tools, and even they will burn out their shoulders,” Equipois’s CEO Eric Golden told Fast Company. “[With X-Ar] you put your arm on there and you could have a 105 pound woman who happen to have great fine motor controls do it all day long.”
In the future they may even adapt the technology to work with a brain-interface to help paralyzed veterans move their arms. The device is expected to ship out in May and cost between $2,000 and $3,000. Gratuitous bionic man/woman references included; bionic left eye and legs sold separately.
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