Canadian 'Iron Man' lifts car with homemade exoskeleton

KITCHENER, Ont. -- A Canadian inventor, who says he was "definitely" inspired by the comic hero Iron Man, has demonstrated a homemade exoskeleton by lifting a car for a German TV crew.

See Full Article

James Hobson, of Kitchener, Ont., says the lift, using the legs of his exoskeleton, was about 360 kilograms, adding that the legs are rated for about 700 kilograms.

Hobson says he's been dabbling in exoskeletons for about two years and built an upper body exoskeleton last year and curled nearly 135 kilograms with it.

Since then he has quit his job to focus full-time on exoskeletons and YouTube and started building the legs -- which he describes as a "very early prototype" costing about $1,000 -- a few weeks ago.

Hobson says he'd been collecting parts for two years and -- like the Marvel superhero's alter ego Tony Stark -- modified and cobbled them together into the leg portion of the exoskeleton.

Hobson says the motivation to get the legs built was the German TV show "Galileo" coming to film the Mini Cooper lift, which he says was the test for his design.

"We wanted to show the German TV show something impressive," he said Wednesday.

"I have a project car, a Mini Cooper we're working on fixing up, so we thought hey, why not try lifting that?"

"The video was the test," Hobson said. "We didn't have time for anything else! I work better under pressure anyway."

Hobson moved to Kitchener from Toronto about a year ago, and said he bought the place because of the garage, which is larger than the house.

"It was built in the 80s for a trucker so he could park his big rig inside," he said.

"I call it the Inventorium! I've spent the past year renovating it on a shoestring budget, and it's starting to look like a proper little R&D facility," Hobson added.

Hobson hasn't yet begun work on an upper body for the exoskeleton.

"There's the old one, but that was the first prototype, it's to be scrapped," he said.

Hobson said he's planning to demonstrate the exoskeleton for Discovery Channel's "Daily Planet" show on Monday by lifting a truck -- which he estimates will be a lift of about 680 kilograms.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Inuvik teacher's 'never-ending encouragement' leads to prestigious polar mentor award

    Tech & Science CBC News
    "It was shock and humility and it's a great honour," said Joel McAlister, a senior instructor in the Environment and Natural Resources Technology program at Aurora College in Inuvik, N.W.T. McAlister was recognized as Mentor of the Year by the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists Canada (APECS) and the ArcticNet Student Association (ASA) Wednesday night in Winnipeg. Source
  • Hero-astronaut John Glenn to lie in state in Ohio

    Tech & Science CTV News
    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- American hero-astronaut John Glenn will lie in state in Ohio's capitol building preceding a celebration of his life of military and government service and two history-making voyages into space. The public viewing at the Ohio Statehouse and a memorial service at Ohio State University's Mershon Auditorium is planned for next week; the dates and times were being worked out Friday, said Hank Wilson of the John Glenn School of Public Affairs. Source
  • Radiation detected on Oregon shores from Fukushima nuclear disaster

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SALEM, Ore. -- Researchers say seaborne radiation from Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster has been detected on Oregon shores. Seawater samples from Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach indicate radiation from the nuclear disaster but at extremely low levels not harmful to humans or the environment. Source
  • Buzz Aldrin leaves New Zealand after South Pole evacuation

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Buzz Aldrin was discharged from a New Zealand hospital on Friday and appeared to be heading home, a week after he was evacuated from the South Pole for medical reasons. Aldrin's manager, Christina Korp, posted a photo on Twitter showing the former U.S. Source
  • Japan launches much-needed supplies to space station

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A Japanese capsule has been launched with much-needed supplies to the International Space Station. Friday's successful launch from Japan comes a week after a Russian shipment was destroyed shortly after liftoff. Source
  • Thai Navy shows off technology to fight fishing abuses

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SAMUT SAKHON, Thailand -- Thailand's navy on Friday showed off new technology to monitor fishing boats in a renewed effort to crack down on illegal fishing, forced labour and corruption in the seafood industry. New equipment the navy has been testing includes a GPS tracking system to monitor fishing vessels, a central database and a scanner for officials to check documents. Source
  • Still don't own a smartwatch? You're not alone

    Tech & Science CBC News
    This time last year, tech companies were busy hyping what they hoped to be the next big thing in consumer tech. Apple had just unveiled the Apple Watch. Samsung was promoting the Gear S2. LG, Lenovo and Huawei, amongst others, had partnered with Google to launch new smartwatches of their own, powered by software called Android Wear. Source
  • Excavators unearth ancient tombs in Beijing suburb

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BEIJING - The Chinese capital's future administrative hub was already bustling 2,000 years ago. Government agencies excavating a site in the far southeastern Beijing suburbs say they have found ancient city walls and more than 1,000 tombs, most of which are dated to the eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD) and some even earlier. Source
  • U.S. proposal plots future of phone calls on flights

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Airlines could let passengers make in-flight phone calls using Wi-Fi under a proposal from federal regulators. Flight attendants and others have complained that the calls could be disruptive. But the Department of Transportation said Thursday that it envisioned allowing the calls if airlines tell all customers about the policy when they buy their tickets. Source
  • 'We lost a good man today': Chris Hadfield on the death of John Glenn

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Col. Chris Hadfield — Canada's most recognizable former astronaut — says the death of his idol and colleague John Glenn is tragic. "He was absolutely one of the inspiring figures that dictated the life that I chose to follow," Hadfield told CBC Calgary News at 6 on Thursday, after news of Glenn's passing surfaced earlier in the day. Source