Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.
A Tokyo university research team has created a bionic bodysuit to assist arm and leg movements. The result, farmers need to exert less energy by 60-70%.
The suit attaches at the shoulders, arms, back and legs. So much for working in the garden to stay in shape, he?
Sensors pick up body movements and send signals to built-in motors. Assistance comes to help the arms and legs in five agricultural tasks.
The entire suit weighs about 25 kilograms (55lbs). Let’s see carry 55 lbs extra so you can lift 55lbs more easily…hmmm. I suppose there is a tradeoff there somewhere.
The same team developed a device last year that helps with lifting. That device this year now has a voice recognition system that allows the suit to respond to sentences like, “I will pull a daikon (large white radish) out of the ground,” or, “I will chop off branches.”
The team was able to increase work efficiency by 20-30% on farming chores – Japan’s answer to the labor shortage is to get more out of the workers they have.
The team will market the bionic suit for research purposes in 2010 and sell it o the general public in five to seven years at around Y300,000 ($3,000) to Y500,000 ($5,000). Before mass, sales begin the team wants to get the suit down to 22lbs.
“What’d you do this morning grandpa?”
“I uprooted 2,000 daikons, 1,500 pumpkins, 2,200 squashes, 14,000 strawberries. Then I took a break for morning tea and started on the back fields.”
If this were in the US, I’d complain that it was an example of laziness. But in Japan, I just think it’s cool. What does that say about me?