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

  • The race to space: Experts say 2018 will be the year space tourism takes off

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Space. The final frontier, and quite possibly your family's next March Break vacation. Experts say 2018 will be the year space tourism takes off. But while great leaps are being made at what seems like warp speed, it's a venture that's still fraught with issues that go far beyond its out-of-this-world price tag. Source
  • Genetic analysis reveals origins of dog breeds

    Tech & Science CBC News
    In the pages of human history, the paw prints of man's best friend are tracked all over. As companions, guardians, hunters and herders, dogs come in all shapes and sizes, evidenced by the enormous variety of breeds. Source
  • Giant, stinky flower blooms in Edmonton

    Tech & Science CTV News
    EDMONTON -- The sweet smell of NHL playoff success isn't the only aroma that's exciting people in Edmonton. While fans of the Edmonton Oilers celebrated their team taking a 2-0 lead in their second-round series against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night, a corpse flower known as "Putrella" bloomed at the city's Muttart Conservatory. Source
  • Waterton, Glacier parks get dark-sky designation

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WATERTON, Alta. -- A pair of sister parks straddling the border between Alberta and Montana have received a special designation. The Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, as the Canadian and U.S. parks are known, have received an International Dark Sky Park designation. Source
  • Robots boldly go where no one has gone before: Bob McDonald

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The robotic Cassini spacecraft that has been orbiting Saturn for the past 13 years began its final and most daring observation of the ringed planet by diving down through a small gap between the rings and the planet itself, a dangerous move never attempted by a spacecraft before. Source
  • Trump administration wins victory in effort to roll back Obama climate change efforts

    Tech & Science CBC News
    At the Trump administration's request, a federal appeals court agreed Friday to postpone a ruling on lawsuits challenging Obama-era restrictions on carbon emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency had asked the court to put a hold on the case shortly after President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing officials to roll back the Clean Power Plan. Source
  • Facebook isn't doing enough to control violent posts, says expert

    Tech & Science CBC News
    more stories from this episodeMeet the godfather of Canada's outlaw biker club, Satan's ChoiceWhat's life worth? Ken Feinberg on victim compensationFacebook isn't doing enough to control violent posts, says expertFull Episode Serena McKay was just 19 when she was killed in Sagkeeng First Nation in northern Manitoba. Source
  • Facebook preparing to fight political propaganda

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Facebook is acknowledging that governments or other malicious non-state actors are using its social network to influence political sentiment in ways that could affect national elections. It's a long way from CEO Mark Zuckerberg's assertion back in November that it was "pretty crazy" to think that false news on Facebook influenced the U.S. Source
  • A robot that picks apples? Replacing humans worries some

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SPOKANE, Wash. -- Harvesting Washington state's vast fruit orchards each year requires thousands of farmworkers, and many of them work illegally in the United States. That system eventually could change dramatically as at least two companies are rushing to get robotic fruit-picking machines to market. Source
  • Humpback whale babies 'whisper' to their moms to avoid detection by predators

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Newborn humpback whales "whisper" to their mothers to avoid being detected by predators such as killer whales, new research suggests. Never captured before, the baby whale call recordings were collected using tags placed temporarily on the whales by a team of ecologists in Denmark, Australia and Scotland. Source