The Ekso Works is a framework you strap yourself into that mechanically transmits the load to mounts at the hip, thence to the ground. As you move about, the equipment weight is supported by the Ekso frame.
(Ekso Works Industrial Exoskeleton)
To set up for my demo, Harding first handed me a 15-pound industrial angle grinder. It’s heavy, awkward, and a pretty uncomfortable piece of gear to control when it’s at arm’s length or overhead. Using one repetitively can cause stress injuries. Or, if you’re a lightweight like me, you’re likely to drop it on your toes after trying to control it for more than a few minutes.
But when the grinder was attached to a Steadicam-like articulated Equipois mount on the Ekso’s hip attachment point, it became weightless. It still had inertia, of course, but it didn’t weigh a thing, and I could wrench it around like it was a six-ounce pair of pliers. I could hold it over my head easily, and control it with precision. If I wanted to use it at arm’s length, I could do that, too; Counterweights attached to the Ekso’s plate on my back kept my center of gravity over my legs.
And I could walk. It was awkward because it was a new physical experience, but it wasn’t difficult. Harding told me that if I came back the next day, I’d be better at it. He said the body processes the learning of new skills during sleep, something tennis and ski instructors know well.
Fans of Golden Age science fiction may remember that In the 1932 classic A Conquest of Two Worlds, Edmond Hamilton wrote about how scientists solved the problem of how to work in the heaviest gravity environment in the solar system, contributing a very early description of the idea of robotic exoskeletons:
The greatest difficulty, Crane saw, was Jupiter's gravitation...
Earth's scientists solved the problem to some extent by devising rigid metallic clothing not unlike armor which would support the interior human structure against Jupiter's pull. Crane's men were also administered compounds devised by the biochemists for the rapid building of bone to strengthen the skeleton structure...
(Read more about Hamilton's Rigid Metallic Clothing)