Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Farmer Cyborg

Most of you, thinking of the word 'farmer', will probably associate towards a curmudgeonly scruffy old man with large hands and little to say. But behold, the future farmer is a superstreamlined sleek cyborg, as light, crispy and fresh as sunrays scattering under the surface of a grape's skin. No more automation, we want sensory connection to our food again! Man becomes machine, rather than a consumer of the machine.

Who would have thought that the Japanese would target their amazing robotic exoskeletic power-assist suits to a user group so underpopularized as the farmers? But it makes a lot of sense. Especially considering that our populations are becoming more and more silver-haired, with over two thirds of Japan's body of farmers being over the age of 65. The heavy version of the suit, developed by Shigeki Toyama, a professor at Tokyo Agriculture and Technology (TAT) University, weighs about 72 pounds, and can empower the wearer with 62% of added strength. I know it all looks strange, but I truly believe that this is the way to go, and we will see a lot of improvement once materials become more adaptive and we can miniaturize this technology.

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