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The Suits0

See a movie, get inspired to invent?   

It hasn’t happened to me, but apparently, that’s how some creative folks get their ideas.   

 Take the Power Loader from James Cameron’s kickin’ film, Aliens:  


Sorry, not a great video, but you get the idea.     

Some guy has actually invented a version of this thing—which is the point of this article.  But before I get into that, let me point out some details concerning the true operational nature of the Power Loader from the Aliens film. According to, based on information gleaned from the Collector’s DVD of Aliens:  

“…the loader is part real, part fake. The actual loader is real, but has an external power supply. Since the loader is extremely heavy, it is supported by cables (sic) which are masked out for the final print. A power loader was on display at the Boston Museum of Science as part of a special effects exhibit. This power loader was worked by a person inside, behind and below the actor, that is with their legs down in the power-loader’s legs and their torso in the power-loader’s back. Different constructs of the power loader were used depending on the action it had to perform in front of the camera.”  

In reality, the film version looks like this:


I see a face-plant in that poor guy’s future.  

Then some other guy (pronounced “Go Shirogauchi”) goes and makes the real thing.  

Activelink Dual-Arm Power Amplification Robot
Activelink chief engineer Go Shirogauchi wearing the robotic exoskeleton inspired by Aliens / Activelink Source: Reuters

Now that’s quite a suit—though I wouldn’t wear it to a high-end restaurant.  I’d never be able to find a tie that would match.

Developed for disaster relief scenarios, this sucker can lift over 100kg (220 lbs.).  

But it’s quite heavy.  230kg (485 lbs.), to be precise.  Something tells me it would walk around like the rickety movie version shown at that conference in the video above—if it could walk at all.  

The unit utilizes 18 electromagnetic motors to carry “force-feedback” to the user, which allow for more precise control.  Interchangeable parts allow the unit to be used in a variety of situations, with emphasis on construction.  

And the concept is great.  But…  


Um… I don’t see this sucker walkin’ anywhere.  And no amount of high-tech bounty hunter deadeye crosshair graphics are gonna save this thing from looking like a gallon of just plain ol’ suck.  

It looks like a robot’s grandmother with a person stuck in it.  

Of course I’m just being a bit mean.  I’m not saying that there’s no potential.  The goal is to have this thing up and going by 2015, which leaves plenty of time to get it off of it’s walker and into a Bingo parlor.  

Realistically, five years is a long enough developmental period to have the Power Loader fully functional—and I hope it is.  The concept presented in Aliens was a good one.  And if Shirogauchi and his team get the real thing up and running by 2015—well, I’ll stand in line to try it out.  

I just don’t want to fight a giant queen alien with it. . .  

by John Barker

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