It’s no surprise that the Japanese have beat other countries to the first duty-ready exoskeletons. Indeed, while the rest of the world is conducting research on exoskeleton designs for whatever mad-scientist reasons we can imagine, the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology believes they can begin issuing exoskeletons to Japanese farmers in two years. That is, if the farmers in question are rich, and, per Gizmodo, ready to shell out as much as $11k to “pull radishes” and conduct “other farm work”.
What we’d like to see is an actual study showing the efficiency of this kind of exoskeleton. That is to say, with the added weight and potential discomfort wearing such an exoskeleton could entail, is a full day of farm-hand labour really going to net a greater among of radishes pulled than continuing to farm without a robot strapped to one’s back? And, if the efficiency is greater, is it worth the fancy price-tag? Might we not buy a mule for cheaper?