The next weird thing: Exoskeletons for construction workers

Suit makes heavy power tools feel weightless.

Russ Angold, the co-founder and CTO at exoskeleton maker Ekso Bionics, says he can tell how old someone is by which pop-culture reference they make when he tells them what he does for a living. Kids talk about the suit Tom Cruise wears in Edge of Tomorrow. Millenials name-check Iron Man. Gen-Xers go classic: Sigourney Weaver in Aliens. Nobody ever mentions Starship Troopers.

But building a power-enhancing exosuit isn’t easy. And nobody knows that better than Ekso. Angold has his own high standards to live up to; when he was a kid, his brother decided to become a Navy SEAL—and Angold promised to become an engineer to build cool gear for him. “The spec that the users want for all exoskeletons is very clear,” says Angold. “It can’t suck.”

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