I just became a superpowered cyborg with the Guardian XO exoskeleton

Guardian XO exoskeleton
(Image credit: Future)

I’ve never lifted 50 pounds before and actually felt giddy during the process, but that’s exactly what happened when I demoed the Guardian XO exoskeleton from Sarcos here at CES 2020

Sarcos is partnering with Delta to deliver the first battery-powered, full-body exoskeleton to employees to help them do the heavy lifting. How heavy? The battery-powered robotic suit can lift up to 200 pounds for eight hours. 

Lifting 50 pounds like it's nothing

Guardian XO exoskeleton robot arm

(Image credit: Future)

To be clear, I demoed only an arm of this exoskeleton before seeing the whole thing in action. I was lifted up and put in a harness, and strapped in. Then I was given the clear to activate a trigger with two fingers on my right hand.

With the robotic arm turned off, I could really feel the weight of the 50-pound suitcase and couldn't lift it very far in front of me without feeling serious strain. But  then Sarcos turned the arm on and the bag literally felt weightless as I swung my arm forward.

This is probably what it feels like to be Iron Man. Or at least Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow.

An exoskeleton with superpowers

Guardian XO exoskeleton

(Image credit: Future)

Then it was time for the bigger demo. A Sarcos employee stepped into the full Guardian XO suit and proceeded to lift a 130-pound tire that would normally require multiple people to lift.

Then he switched metal hands from a single prong to a dual-prong setup and proceeded to lift a 70-pound piece of luggage and then two bags at the same time weighing 110 pounds together. The Sarcos rep said he felt like he was lifting a cereal box.

And he’s not kidding. In fact, Sarcos lets you dial the resistance up or down so that you can feel like you’re lifting at least 10 pounds. This way you don't accidentally fling a really heavy object.

What's next?

Delta says that it plans to test the Guardian XO exoskeleton in a pilot location during the first quarter of 2020. And potential uses include handling freight in Cargo warehouses and lifting heavy machinery and parts. 

The overall goal is to improve worker safety, and this device could do just that. Feeling like a superhero just happens to be a really nice perk.

Check out our CES 2020 hub now for all of Tom's Guide coverage of the hottest new products from the world's biggest tech show

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.