An exoskeleton is a machine which is composed of an outer frame structure compatible to human body. Particularly, it has a power system of motors or hydraulics which adds energy for the human limb movement. There is lots of application of exoskeleton for our society, some are obvious and some are not. Some of the sectors are health sector, military, industial sector, space program and environmental sector and disaster management.
It can be used it health sector as rehabilitation method or as an assistive device for daily use. As an example of exoskeleton in health care, the following link leads to a video of paraplegics who uses exoskeleton for walking. The video explains the development of exoskeleton and its importance for the handicap people. (http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/13/tech/innovation/original-ideas-exoskeleton/index.html )
Lots of efforts have been put on research and development in the military sector in the US also. They have already developed an exoskeleton fit for the battlefield called the Human Universal Load Carrier. It is capable of diverting the load up to 90kg that allows the soldier to move without any load. It allows the soldiers to carry the load which could only be carried by two or more men.
As an example of a disaster management sector, Cyberdyne HAL-5 was used in the Fukushima nuclear disaster for clean up purposes.
Exoskeleton X-1 has been used by the NASA where astronauts in space perform their daily exercise. As performing exercise without earth’s gravitational pull is a quite hard task, NASA suggests that this technology could be the future in deep space exploration missions.
Now I want to pose a question on the application of exoskeleton. Till what extent should this technology be available and to whom should it be designed for? For example, is it a good idea for exoskeleton to be available in the general public of every age and ability, so that people can buy it and use it in their day to day life to increase their potential in work physically causing them to have higher quality life and earning? Will this not make a division between people who can afford and cannot afford an exoskeleton for their daily use, causing the rich people, who can afford it, to work more efficiently and become richer? And people who cannot afford it, to become poorer and be a social outcast? Thinking globally, will there not be a much bigger gap than that which already exists between the developing countries and developed ones? So should there be a kind of law that says exoskeleton are only for health care/ military/ big industries or should there be no restriction at all and why?