Emerging Technologies

These robotic arms could give you superhuman strength

Robots work on the production line at AkzoNobel's new paint factory in Ashington, Britain  September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Phil Noble - RC1115B9CCF0

Sarcos Robotics have created a set of seven-foot robotic arms that can each lift 230 kg (500 lbs). Image: REUTERS/Phil Noble

Chelsea Gohd
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Emerging Technologies?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Artificial Intelligence is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Emerging Technologies

In brief

Have you ever lifted half a ton? With the Guardian GT, a set of robotic arms, you could do so with as little as two kilogram (five pounds) of force, allowing you to have superhuman strength.

Robot arms

Elon Musk recently made headlines asserting that, in order for us to both progress and survive as a species, we must merge with machines and become cyborgs. And, as climate change rages onwards and the biological difficulties of completing a human mission to Mars become ever more apparent, many are beginning to agree.

It is no surprise, then, that researchers at Sarcos Robotics have created Guardian GT, a set of seven-foot robotic arms that can each lift 230 kg (500 lbs), giving whoever uses them superhuman strength. And to ensure you can really experience this superhuman ability, the arms allow you to actually feel what’s going on.

These robotic arms can reportedly lift half a ton, but in operating the machine, the user feels only two kilogram (five pounds) of force, according to Wired. The dimensions of these arms are designed to be parallel to those of an adult human, so users should find them natural-feeling and easy to operate.

Sarcos Robotics intends these arms to be used for emptying disposal bins, moving metal pipes, and accomplishing other tasks with massively heavy materials. The arms are powered by a diesel motor and are said to be capable of moving at 6 km/h (4 mph) for a 7 hours — enough time to move a lot of heavy objects.

Have you read?

Metal muscle

From science fiction to developing artificial limbs (such as these robotic arms), augmenting human strength and ability remains at the forefront of many efforts. Boldly referred to as “cyborg eyes,” researchers are developing wireless, prosthetic eyes for those without sight; cyborg bacteria promote the hope of achieving artificial photosynthesis; and companies around the world are considering, and sometimes implimenting, microchipping their employees. In short — we are well on our way to truly becoming a planet of cyborgs.

But this might not be the science fiction nightmare that Star Trek promised with the Borg. The Guardian GT arms are not inherently weapons and are designed specifically to be used with a human counterpart while steering clear of any sci-fi-reminiscent interaction with the brain. And, while it is easy to feel distrust toward technologies with the word “cyborg” attached, merging human with machine isn’t necessarily bad.

Prosthetics have provided assistance to those lacking limbs or abilities for quite a long time. But, while antique models had limited or non-existent functionality, modern prosthetics, like Guardian GT, are being designed to give users abilities beyond what is naturally possible.

It is yet to be seen whether this means that, in the future, we will all walk around with cyborg attachments giving us superhuman abilities. But one thing is for certain — this innovation will change the way we move heavy objects.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

What is an AI agent and what will they do? Experts explain

Kate Whiting

July 24, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Sign in
  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum