This Exoskeleton Uses Hydrogen to Power Its Artificial ‘Muscles’

It's like watching Iron Man's suit come to life.
Fabienne Lang
Exoskeleton powered by hydrogenAlex Lab/YouTube

There are a number of exoskeletons and exosuits out in the world that are being developed to provide support and strength to those who need it. Now, a new exoskeleton has been created that uses hydrogen as power. 

Created by Alex Lab, who has shared a video of himself on YouTube developing the hydrogen-powered artificial muscles in what looks like his garage, this exoskeleton is one to behold. 

You can watch and learn as Alex walks you through his creation and his process.


Clean power

The Iron Man-esque creation is not too different from a number of other exoskeleton suit projects, but the fact that this one is powered by hydrogen is what makes it stand out. Moreover, Alex's lightheartedness in his video makes the entire process a really fun one. 

The artificial muscles that Alex uses are made up of a rubber tube inside a nylon braid. As he powers the 'muscle', the rubber tube inflates, expands, and so does the nylon braid with it. It literally moves like a muscle, expanding and retracting just as the real ones do. 

This Exoskeleton Uses Hydrogen to Power Its Artificial ‘Muscles’
The hydrogen-powered arm. Source: Alex Lab/YouTube

Expands and retracts like a real mucle

Usually, this type of movement in exoskeleton muscles is created through compressed air. However, Alex decided to use hydrogen for his creation. 

Water is electrolyzed in a contraption that's built to resemble Iron Man's arc reactor, and the gases produced by this method are what end up powering the muscles. 

This Exoskeleton Uses Hydrogen to Power Its Artificial ‘Muscles’
Alex testing out his exoskeleton arm. Source: Alex Lab/YouTube

After testing out what the effects are on one rubber tube and nylon braid, Alex moves to putting five tubes and braids together, assembling them into an arm to see how well they power as one.

Together, they work beautifully and can lift up to 33 lbs (15 kg). Alex proves that point by lifting a radiator purely with the exoskeleton's strength. 

By using hydrogen, all of the movements are much quieter and simpler than when using a regular air compressor. The main risk lies with fire, as the hydrogen system is more flammable; however, Alex runs through these risks and how to avoid them in his video. 

Take a look at how he did it: 

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