Why This Exoskeleton Was Designed To Give You Back Pain


With its flashing lights, wire-ensconced helmet, and snazzy blue and silver logo, the Genworth R70i looks like the superhero suit of the future. It’s easy to imagine a 21st century crime fighter slipping into it and heading out to take down some bad guys. But despite its futuristic aesthetic, the Genworth exoskeleton isn’t designed to magnify human strength, but instead to hinder it. That’s because the R70i was built to mimic the effects of old age.

According to The Verge, the high-tech suit—which was showcased at CES—was designed to raise awareness for a range of conditions associated with aging. The suit can be programmed to replicate a hearing condition called aphasia, which makes everything you say echo in your ears. It can also mimic the effects of rheumatoid arthritis by adding resistance to the motors on the suit’s arms and legs. The suit can even replicate a range of ocular conditions, including cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

Medgadget explains that the Genworth R70i's name was inspired by the fact that 70 percent of Americans over 65 require some form of assistance or long term care. It was designed, in part, to foster empathy in those younger generations who may not fully understand the physical effects of age. But Genworth also hopes to encourage younger people to live healthy lives with positive habits, diet, and exercise in order to foster healthy aging.

Watch The Verge's Loren Grush test out the Genworth R70i above.

[h/t: The Verge, Medgadget]

Banner Image Credit: The Verge, Youtube