Couldn’t find much information about this story, so i can’t garantee the authenticity (though 3yen is a very reliable blog) but as the picture is priceless i couldn’t resist blogging it.
Sho Hasegawa, a student at the Tokyo University of Science, is making a demo of the Muscle Suit, designed to support the muscle movements of the elderly or disabled. By controlling air compression, it can help bend and stretch arms, and twist elbows both inward and outward.
The lack of a full metal frame for this pneumatic robot suit makes it much lighter. The pneumatic system does not have any heavy electric actuators or hydraulics either.
Update: Big big thanks to Ian Wilson who sent me some links about the suit.
Here’s a video from the webpage of project leader Professor Hiroshi Kobayashi.
When they inflate, the “muscles” help the wearer move their limbs with more strength and stability. The suit mimics the body’s system of connecting muscles to bones via tendons. It could be used to boost the strength of specific muscles, such as biceps or triceps.
The artificial muscles are made up of inflatable rubber tubes surrounded by flexible metal mesh connected at each end to the joints on the suit. When the tube inflates, the mesh bulges, which in turn pulls each end in and shortens the artificial muscle.
Pressure sensors all over the suit would tell the artificial muscles when to kick in.