Robotic exoskeleton market to grow 40 per cent a year until 2025

Don't worry, they're for medical purposes … and cyborg farmers

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Rise of the machines The robotic exoskeleton market is set to score 39.6 per cent compound annual growth between now and 2025, emerging as a US$1.8bn industry.

So says analyst outfit ABI Research, which reckons $68 million of exoskeletal kit shipped in 2014.

“Lower body exoskeletons, employed as rehabilitation tools or quality of life enablers, currently lead the sector,” the firm says.

But the future is “commercial systems that augment or amplify capabilities”. Vendors will target “industrial tasks requiring heavy lifting, extended standing, squatting, bending or walking in manufacturing facilities, particularly within construction and agriculture industries.”

All of which sounds like great news for those whose jobs involve lots of manual labour, like the unpleasant chore of wading through a rice paddy planting seedlings into the mud. Unless adding an exoskeleton means one rice planter can do the job of three, at which point the availability of an exoskeleton is bad news for two people. ®

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