Sarcos Robotics, which develops industrial exoskeletons and other robotics aimed to enhance productivity and safety, today unveiled the Alpha version of its Guardian XO industrial exoskeleton. The Salt Lake City-based company said the first shipments of the Alpha units would ship to members of its exoskeleton advisory group and the U.S. military in January 2020.
The Guardian XO is a full-body, powered industrial exoskeleton, a battery-powered wearable robot system that can safely lift up to 200 pounds for extended work sessions, Sarcos said. Designed to augment rather than replace humans, the system combines human intelligence, instinct and judgment with the strength, endurance, and precision of machines to address skilled labor shortages and occupational safety issues across several industries.
Sarcos said it is now accepting orders for commercial production units of the Guardian XO, with shipping scheduled for late 2020. The system has been in development for 20 years, with the initial vision and funding for the effort coming from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and additional funding through the years coming from the U.S. Department of Defense, Fortune 500 industrial companies, and private investors.
“The Guardian XO is a great example of what can happen when private industry and government join forces with a small, innovative team to address a common challenge,” said Ben Wolff, chairman and CEO of Sarcos Robotics.
Earlier this year, Sarcos said it had successfully demonstrated an advanced prototype of the Guardian XO at its Mobility Guardian 2019 exercise held by the U.S. Air Force. In March, Sarcos won a contract with the U.S. Special Operations Command for a pre-production version of Guardian XO.
The Exoskeleton Technical Advisory Group (X-TAG) was created in 2016 and announced in 2018, and includes leading companies representing several industries, including industrial manufacturing, oil & gas, utilities, logistics, construction, automotive, aviation, and aerospace. Sarcos said X-TAG members have been integral in assisting the company with the functional design, performance, and safety requirements, to ensure the Guardian XO meets the needs of different use cases across several industries.
“Full-body, powered exoskeletons have significant potential to transform the industrial workforce as we know it,” said Remy Glaisner, research director for intelligent operational systems and robotics at IDC. “From improving worker strength, efficiency and safety to reducing occupational injuries caused by repetitive heavy lifting, the Guardian XO is poised to be a game-changer for a wide variety of industries.”
Wolff said the Alpha units represent a “huge step forward” as the company prepares to bring the commercial wearable robots to Sarcos customers. “Delivery of our Alpha units represents the first time in history that industrial and military customers will gain access to a full-body, powered exoskeleton that can safely enable humans to intuitively lift and dexterously manipulate objects weighing up to 200 pounds and walk at human speed for extended work sessions,” said Wolff. “With the growing shortage of skilled labor across industries and the rising social and economic costs associated with occupational musculoskeletal injuries, we have an enormous opportunity to benefit employees and companies alike.”