Sure an exoskeleton can help you carry a beer, make a car, or hold a heavy video camera. Why not help you go boating? The reality is that many in boating are over the age of 50 – or will get there at some point in the future.
Boating, after all, comes to many when they have some spare change and time. Depending on the boat, extra strength can come in handy to just make it more fun. Besides, the very idea of an exoskeleton actually comes from the sea.
An exoskeleton is the external skeleton that supports and protects an animal’s body, in contrast to the internal skeleton (endoskeleton) that humans have. Examples of animals with exoskeletons include insects such as grasshoppers and cockroaches, and crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters. The shells of certain sponges and the various groups of shelled molluscs, including those of snails, clams, tusk shells, chitons and nautilus, are also exoskeletons. Some animals, such as the tortoise, have both an endoskeleton and an exoskeleton.
More sophisticated powered versions are known as power armor, powered armor, powered suits, exoframes, hardsuits or exosuits. These are wearable mobile machines powered by a system of electric motors, pneumatics, levers, hydraulics, or a combination of technologies. They allow for limb movement with increased strength and endurance.
Many professions employ these to supplement human abilities when they need extra strength. German medical technology company Ottobock recently debuted an industrial exoskeleton utilized by workers in auto manufacturing plants.
Professional videographers use them to hold and maneuver heavy cameras. You can buy one for about $2K online. Firefighters and rescue workers use exoskeletons in emergencies when they require more strength.
Which brings us back to boating. There are a lot of aspects of boating – especially for those who are do-it-yourself – that require extra strength. As you age, you lose muscle mass, balance, and flexibility unless you actively work to counteract it. Many boaters give up on boating because the don’t feel they are “fit” or strong enough.
Why not a lightweight exoskeleton that gives your back a break and your arms some added strength. It could make docking, turning a winch, handling sails, lifting a boat, and many other things easier for someone who wants to keep on boating. Let’s see where this technology can go. If they use them to carry beers, this seems like a perfectly reasonable idea.
In the meantime, you can use these fitness products for gaining strength so you won’t need one.