A pneumatic contraption that has been dubbed the ‘Muscle Suit’ has been unveiled in Japan, and uses compressed air to make light work of heavy lifting tasks.

The highly portable device is about the size of a large rucksack, and is worn in much the same way, with chest and waist straps to hold it in place.

Once there, it can be controlled using a small mouthpiece, and uses compressed air to assist the wearer in lifting heavy objects.

The total saving in effort on the part of the wearer can be up to about two thirds – and the Muscle Suit is one of the few to use air compressors rather than motors to achieve this.

Already production is expected to hit 5,000 units over the coming year, at a price of about $5,000 to buy or up to $500 per month to rent.

The Muscle Suit is aimed at being an assistive technology for people with back pain, to prevent injury to industrial workers, and for the elderly.

With air compressors rather than motors – and just rubber tubing to carry the compressed air around the body – the suit’s developers at Tokyo University of Science say there is zero risk to the wearer.