These Robotic Exoskeletons Are Designed to Make Life Easier

It turns out that not all robots are here to take human jobs. The Verge reports that Panasonic has been developing a series of Assist Suits that are intended to make those jobs easier for people to do. From an exoskeleton that reduces the strain on the backs of factory workers to a much larger suit reminiscent of the Powered Work Loader from Aliens, Panasonic introduced the robots in a video (above) recently posted to YouTube.

Panasonic says in the video that its robots work "in tandem with a person's own abilities, resulting in a better standard of living." The AWN-03 is a battery-powered suit for workers that detects movement in the wearer's back while lifting heavy objects. The auto-assist mechanism in the exoskeleton kicks in to raise the upper body while pushing on the thighs, which takes the pressure off of the lower back. The battery lasts a full eight-hour work day, and the suit is simple enough that it can be strapped on and taken off without assistance. 

The Power Loader suit is a beast that uses 20 motors and four sensors to allow the operator to lift and carry things that would otherwise require industrial machinery. According to the video, Panasonic hopes to someday produce a smaller version of the suit to be used for disaster relief and construction. The video also introduces technology made to assist the elderly, including an electric nursing bed that transforms into a wheelchair.

Exosuits are best known now as exaggerated war vehicles and other fantasy machines in sci-fi films, but Panasonic is showing that there are practical uses for the robotic technology that could become the norm in the near future.

Images via YouTube

[h/t The Verge]

The Most Popular Netflix Show in Every Country
most popular Netflix show in each country map
most popular Netflix show in each country map key

If you're bored with everything in your Netflix queue, why not look to the top shows around the world for a recommendation? recently used Google Trends data to create a map of the most popular show streaming on Netflix in every country in 2018. The best-loved show in the world is the dystopian thriller 3%, claiming the number one spot in eight nations. The show is the first Netflix original made in Portuguese, so it's no surprise that Portugal and Brazil are among the eight countries that helped put it at the top of the list.

Coming in second place is South Korea's My Love from the Star, which seven countries deemed their favorite show. The romantic drama revolves around an alien who lands on Earth and falls in love with a mortal. The English-language show with the most clout is 13 Reasons Why, coming in at number three around the world—which might be proof that getting addicted to soapy teen dramas is a universal experience.

Pot comedy Disjointed is Canada's favorite show, which probably isn't all that surprising given the nation's recent ruling to legalize marijuana. Perhaps coming as even less of a shock is the phenomenon of Stranger Things taking the top spot in the U.S. Favorites like Black Mirror, Sherlock, and The Walking Dead also secured the love of at least one country.

Out of the hundreds of shows on the streaming platform, only 47 are a favorite in at least one country in 2018. So no hard feelings, Gypsy.

Roadside Bear Statue in Wales is So Lifelike That Safety Officials Want It Removed

Wooden bear statue.

There are no real bears in the British Isles for residents to worry about, but a statue of one in the small Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells has become a cause of concern. As The Telegraph reports, the statue is so convincing that it's scaring drivers, causing at least one motorist to crash her car. Now road safety officials are demanding it be removed.

The 10-foot wooden statue has been a fixture on the roadside for at least 15 years. It made headlines in May of 2018 when a woman driving her car saw the landmark and took it to be the real thing. She was so startled that she veered off the road and into a street sign.

After the incident, she complained about the bear to highways officials who agreed that it poses a safety threat and should be removed. But the small town isn't giving in to the Welsh government's demands so quickly.

The bear statue was originally erected on the site of a now-defunct wool mill. Even though the mill has since closed, locals still see the statue as an important landmark. Llanwrtyd Wells councilor Peter James called it an "iconic gateway of the town," according to The Telegraph.

Another town resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Telegraph that the woman who crashed her car had been a tourist from Canada where bears are common. Bear were hunted to extinction in Britain about 1000 years ago, so local drivers have no reason to look out for the real animals on the side of the road.

The statue remains in its old spot, but Welsh government officials plan to remove it themselves if the town doesn't cooperate. For now, temporary traffic lights have been set up around the site of the accident to prevent any similar incidents.

[h/t The Telegraph]


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