Researchers in Japan have made a new robotic suit that will aid farmers with augmented strength for the laborious task of tending the fields.
The suit, unveiled on Friday by researchers at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, is a prototype wearable assistance machine equipped with eight motors and 16 sensors.
The 55-pound device is designed to assist elderly farmers who need support for their leg muscles and joints when they keep a crouching position or lift their arms high.
In a demonstration, a person wearing the suit pulled radishes from the ground and picked oranges from high branches like a robot.
The researchers said they were looking to commercial use of the suit in two to three years at an initial prices ranging from 5000 to 10,000 dollars.
Human robotic technology is being applied to various industries but it has great potential in the agricultural industry, in which people have to bear a heavy burden, professor Shigeki Toyama told AFP news.
That's especially obvious in Japan, where the industry is rapidly ageing and its population is shrinking, he said.
He expected robotics would increasingly be put to use in farming in Japan and smaller European countries, where there is not enough space for large-scale agriculture and manual labour is costly.
Japan has been developing robots to serve in a growing number of jobs including office receptionists and security guards.