Rise of the Mechanical Exoskeleton | God's World News

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Rise of the Mechanical Exoskeleton

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    Jonathan Tippett created a giant exoskeleton mech suit. (Furrion Exobionics)
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    Jonathan Tippett climbs into the suit in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. (Reuters/Matt Mills McKnight)
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    The Guinness Book of World Records recognized the suit as the largest tetrapod (four legs) exoskeleton in the world. (Reuters/Matt Mills McKnight)
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    Jonathan Tippett wants to start a global mech racing league. (Reuters/Matt Mills McKnight)
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    The giant suit splashes through water. (Furrion Exobionics)
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    Jonathan Tippett pilots the suit through brush next to a Caterpillar excavator. (Reuters/Matt Mills McKnight)
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In British Columbia, Canada, an iron beast tramples trees and charges through underbrush. This isn’t a sci-fi movie prop or a superhero invasion. It’s the world’s largest mechanical suit. Someday, it could stomp through your neighborhood.

Jonathan Tippett is a Canadian-born artist and engineer. A fan of Transformers and other mechanical contraptions, Tippett began dreaming of building his own metal behemoth in 2003.

“I saw this gorgeous 10-foot-tall sculpture of mechanical parts,” he says. “I thought, what if you could sit on top of them and control them . . . and what if it was a vehicle.”

The now-founder of Exosapien Technologies allowed his idea to simmer. Tippett and his engineer friends took the leap into developing the exoskeleton mech (short for “mechanical”) suit full-time in 2015.

Millions of dollars, years of research, and a global pandemic later, Exosapien Technologies unveiled a fully operational exoskeleton (outer skeleton) mech.

“There is literally nothing like . . . getting in a giant [8,800-pound], 200-horsepower suit,” Tippett says.

The 10-foot-tall suit amplifies human strength by about 50 times, according to Tippett. His favorite tagline describes the suit as “a cross between an excavator, a dune buggy, and a dinosaur.”

Tippett describes piloting the mech as either giggle- or fear-inducing. “You have to climb up on this 10-foot machine and wiggle your way in. . . . Until you turn it on, you can’t move. And then the pumps fire up, the fluid starts flowing, the pressure comes up and the machine suddenly gets loose, and it gets kind of alive,” Tippet explains. “You realize that with the tiniest push of your hand or your foot, this . . . machine will move under your control.”

Tippett envisions practical uses for the suits, such as farming, mining, disaster response, and more. He’s currently backing a new sport—a global mech racing league. Games would feature five or six pro athletes operating suits. They would compete on huge technical racecourses, steering the metallic beasts to push things out of the way, tackle obstacles, and solve giant puzzles.

Right now, the suit’s cost is huge. “Maybe we made it a little too big,” jokes Tippett. “The next generation is going to be about two-thirds the size, half the weight, three or four times the power.” He’s already picturing the possibilities.

“We imagine and envision a future where powered mech suits are as common as ATVs,” says Tippett. “The sky is the limit.”

Why? Advances in technology can help humans do many new things—even when science fiction seems to meet reality.