Many are suspiciously looking towards the rise of robotics and related technologies. There seems to be a lot of fear that automation and robots might replace us humans and our work. The Japanese company ATOUN is trying to bring robotics into a more positive light by building solutions that enhance, augment and support humans doing their job by reducing physical stress and risk for injury.
What is ATOUN about?
ATOUN has been founded in 2003 and is located in Nara City, Japan. They were able to raise capital and engage in partnerships with Panasonic Corporation and MITSUI & CO to boost their R&D work. While their products and prototypes look much like they come straight out of a science fiction mecha anime, they do fulfill an important role here and now. They say the following about their company name:
“ATOUN is composed of ‘A’ (symbolizing ‘human’), ‘TO’ (meaning ‘and’ in Japanese), and ‘UN’ (symbolizing ‘robot’). This name embodies our philosophy based on the concept of “aun” — Harmony on a mental and physical level between two parties, in our case, humans and robots.”
Finished products and promising prototypes
The products that they have already finished primarily concentrate on supporting the human body when executing tasks such as heavy lifting or other strainful activities. Those are robotic wearable suits that use their mechanics to ease the effort that the human body has to invest in the action. They have Model Y for light work and supporting the waist, Model K for heavy work and supporting the arms, Model As to d light work and support both arms and waist area, as well as the Model A which also supports light work and protects the wearer’s waist.
But really, it’s the prototypes that give you goosebumps if you’re into that kind of things. Especially the large powered suite with the codename NIO looks as if it’s a direct successor of the Caterpillar P-5000 Work Loader from the Aliens movie from 1986. With the same, they were also featured in a Nissan commercial earlier this year.
Other exciting concepts from ATOUN that are still in development are the NININ intelligent assist chair, the ZUI power assist suit, the TABITO power assist suit, VIWA the power assist arm, and of course, KOMA the small powered suit to help workers carry heavy cargo and other payloads.
ATOUN is an exciting company to keep on your watchlist. I’m intrigued to see what else they come up with in the near future. There is indeed room for improvement when it comes to reducing the risk of injury and improve the health of human workers.
You might also be interested in the work invested in the following projects:
- Gundam Father Works on Foldable Car
- Ford Starts Bionic Worker Pilot with Wearable Exoskeleton Tech
- METHOD-1: The Mecha That Might Unlock the Future
- Biomechatronics and the Bionic Ballet
YouTube: ATOUN Concept Movie
Photo credit: The feature image and all embedded content is done by ATOUN.