It's always exciting when concepts from science fiction migrate to the real world, but it can be tricky to determine when a sci-fi tech has truly arrived.
Take, for instance, the idea of robotic exoskeletons - a sci-fi staple from Aliens to Iron Man. Real-world exoskeletons have been around for a few years now in various proposal and prototype scenarios, but we haven't seen any large-scale commercial deployment - until now.
Real-Life Iron Man Suits
According to a report from the August issue of New Scientist, the massive South Korean corporation Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering has already begun outfitting shipyard workers with wearable exoskeletons for heavy lifting duties.
After a successful pilot program last year, Daewoo is in the process of rolling out the exoskeletons for regular use in the shipyards. The 60-pound units - made of carbon, steel and aluminum alloy - support themselves when attached, so that the worker feels no extra weight. Workers actually strap their feet into anchored boots, which serve as the base for the rig's backpack and lifters.