LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

A Suit That Turns A Person Into A Robot (Sort Of)

Listen to the Story

The evolution of exoskeletons, hanging on the wall at Ekso Bionics in Richmond, Calif.

A few years ago, the Defense Department invited researchers from around the world to build robots that could respond to disasters. The machines were supposed to go up stairs, drive a car and clear debris.

The competition to test the robots was last week. For many of the robots, it did not go well.

It's really hard to get robots to do basic things. One possible workaround, at least for some settings, is to combine a person and a machine.

Russ Angold is in the business of building exoskeletons. He runs a company called Ekso Bionics, which makes suits that are designed make you stronger and less prone to injury. I wore one. It gave me superhuman strength. Sort of.

Suits like this one allow construction workers to lift really heavy objects. The company is also building an exoskeleton for people with spinal cord injuries, and another for U.S. special operations forces.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)