Good paper about the rise of exo-skeletons
A very good review of the existing exo-skeletons in the IEEE Spectrum: The Rise of the Body Bots by: Erico Guizzo and Harry Goldstein:
Today, in Japan and the United States, engineers are finally putting some practical exoskeletons through their paces outside of laboratories (...) At long last, exoskeletons, the stuff of science fiction, are on the verge of proving themselves in military and civilian applications. Strap-on robotic controls for the arms and hands—used to remotely operate manipulators that handle nuclear material, for example—have been around for quite a while. But the new anthropomorphic, untethered, and self-powered exoskeletons now strutting out of labs aren't just a bunch of wearable joysticks. They marry humans' decision-making capabilities with machines' dexterity and brute force. They've got the brains to control the brawn.
What's relevant is that they mention the limits:
These efforts ran into fundamental technological limitations. Computers weren't fast enough to process the control functions necessary to make the suits respond smoothly and effectively to the wearer's movements. Energy supplies weren't compact and light enough to be easily portable. And actuators, which are the electromechanical muscles of an exoskeleton, were too sluggish, heavy, and bulky. (...)
You're not likely to see exoskeletons battling extraterrestrial monsters anytime soon. But before long, it might not even occur to you to gawk at the sight of a person strapped to an exoskeleton bringing home the groceries or going for a stroll in the park.
Check this impressive example developed in Japan by KANAGAWA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY:
>Why do I blog this? This is an interesting trend in HCI and the article is a great summary of people like me who just wanted to know more about this. I like the fact that the introduction starts with mentioning Robert Heinlein's Starship Troop because it's for me the first reference I ran across about exo-skeletons.