Filipino engineer invents Iron Man-inspired robotic suit


A Filipino biomedical engineer has invented a robotic suit inspired by the Marvel superhero Iron Man.

In an episode of “Next Now”, Dr. Rainier Natividad explained how he developed the Body Assist Suit, which provides muscle support and improves physical capabilities.

Called ARMAS Airlevate, the invention was Natividad’s doctoral thesis at the National University of Singapore. It aims to delay fatigue and minimize injuries.

“It didn’t quite turn out like Iron Man as I hoped. But you know, it’s still a particularly useful invention and we’re really proud of it,” said Natividad, who is based in Singapore and currently the designated CEO. of the young start-up ArmasTec.

The exoskeleton suit is powered by ArmasTec’s patented air spring technology, which supports the lower back when the wearer lifts something heavy.

“It’s unique in that it’s all-fabric construction. We don’t use anything metallic, so our suit is incredibly light and can be worn as if you were wearing normal clothing,” Natividad said.

The costume earned him the prestigious Tah Kah Kee Young Inventor’s Award, which recognizes scientists and inventors who come up with innovations that benefit society.

Natividad’s business partner, Serene Wong, said the suit can be useful in logistics and healthcare, and even for parents of young children.

“We also hope to empower everyone to be sort of ‘Iron Man’, level the playing field for people of all ages and different genders,” she said.

ArmasTec is part of the NUS Graduate Research Innovation Program (GRIP). They are in talks with potential investors as well as warehouses and hospitals as potential customers.

Pilot tests and technical licenses for the suit are currently underway and the company hopes to launch its product on the market next year.

—MGP, GMA News


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