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Industrial Iron Man: Ekso Aims To Power Superhuman Workers

October 28, 2013

Max Scheder-Bieschin, CFO of Ekso Bionics, just comes right out and says it: “We want to create Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit.”

Looking around his company’s warehouse in an industrial section of Richmond, California -– the same warehouse that 75 years ago produced many of the tanks and Jeeps used in the Pacific theater — it’s hard not to take him seriously.

The bionic suits, which look closer to those worn by Matt Damon in the upcoming movie Elysium, are overrunning the place. Over here, one hangs from an industrial-strength gurney while a technician welds circuitry into its knee joint. Over there, another marches in place without a human inside, indefinitely automated for stress tests (an eerie fixture for the last person in the office at night, staff admit.) At the far end of the room, suits painted with military fatigues sit half-assembled. And that’s to say nothing of what goes on in The Tent, a 20-by-20-foot pup assembled in the corner to conceal Ekso’s most confidential projects from anyone — employees included — not on a need-to-know.  (more…)