Robot suits like those shown in the films “Iron Man” and “Edge of Tomorrow” are likely to appear soon. And as an increasing number of companies are trying to develop robot suits, related patent applications are rapidly rising as well.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office on August 20, the number of patent applications associated with robot suits more than tripled within four years, from 5 cases in 2009 to 18 in 2013.
First, the number decreased from five to three cases from 2009 to 2010. But the figure increased to 8 cases in 2011, 7 cases in 2012, and then it soared to 18 cases last year. The total number of patent applications has been 17 cases as of July 2014.
Soldiers in robot suits can lessen the loss of their physical strength during combat, can more easily carry heavy shells, and can protect their body from enemies' attacks.
Robot suits would enable soldiers to relay orders and information on the battlefield in real-time during combat, and they can be remotely operated as well.
Prior to 2010, most patent applications were related to the principles and functions of operating robot suits, but those in the field of sensors aimed at improving the function of robot suits, power systems, and energy have recently become mainstream. It shows that efforts are being made to apply the robot suit-making tech to an actual battle.
Major patented techniques include a method to measure the strength of the human body from electric signals coming from muscles, a tech to amplify strength from the movement of the human body, a technique that controls the position of the body using a gyroscope, and a tech that can predict movement using artificial intelligence. Patents related to a tech that uses artificial muscles instead of a mechanical driving mechanism using gears or wires are being filed, too.