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Is this Korean Company Employing Cyborgs?

Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering is outfitting its workers with robotic exoskeletons.

Last year, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, one of the biggest shipbuilders in the world, ran a pilot test with workers outfitted in wearable robotics at their facility in Okpo-dong in South Korea. The carbon, aluminum alloy, and steel exoskeleton gives its wearer support during heavy lifting, but is designed so that its 28-kg frame doesn't prove to be burdensome. Workers strap themselves into the robotics, starting at the feet and moving up across the thighs, waist, and chest. A backpack connected to the rig powers and controls the suit.

Photo courtesy Daewoo

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What a Tool

Could industrial automation actually be good for American workers?

If it wasn’t for the Dodge Ram pickup truck, it’s unlikely that Matt Tyler, the CEO of Vickers Engineering in New Troy, Mich., would have purchased the company’s first robot.

First, it was expensive—the robot alone cost more than $50,000 on eBay, plus another $150,000 to program it and train workers to use it. Second, the general sentiment at Vickers was that bringing in a robot meant putting humans out of work.

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Features

The Future of Stuff: The Global Breaker Challenge

How do you redesign manufacturing in 14 days? Students in teams around the world are trying to figure this out now in the Breaker Challenge...

How do you redesign manufacturing in 14 days? Students in teams around the world are trying to figure this out now in the Breaker Challenge 2013—focused on the way consumers can become producers. Project Breaker lead Juliette LaMontagne explains:

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Reimagining Manufacturing: A Different Way to Make Shoes

Dutch designer Eric Hullegie took a creative look at how shoe manufacturing could be changed.

Dutch designer Eric Hullegie worked with Camper to create a line of mass-manufactured shoes that are each uniquely colored. He studied Camper's vacuum-formed manufacturing process, finding opportunities to tweak it. Hullegie explains his motivation:

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Visualization: What We’d Wear If China Didn’t Exist

When two interaction design students in Copenhagen started researching the histories behind their friends' outfits—where they were made, where...

When two interaction design students in Copenhagen started researching the histories behind their friends' outfits—where they were made, where they were purchased, and where the clothes had traveled—they started wondering what the modern world would look like without China.

Their photographs are a simple exploration of what other students wear on a daily basis, and what they’d look like stripped of everything made in China.
The World With China:

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Economists Ricardo Hausmann and César Hidalgo released their Atlas of Economic Complexity at the Harvard Center for International Development on Thursday. The 300-plus page atlas is unlike any you’ve seen before—it doesn’t inform readers where they are geographically, and it won’t be any help when charting pan-continental adventures. But from an economic perspective, the atlas will tell readers where their countries rank in terms of productivity—and, most astonishingly, where it will be in 10 years.

It’s not a crystal ball, but it could very well be a map for global investment over the next decade. Plus, it sure is pretty to look at.

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