While mimicking human dexterity has become one of the defining problems of robotics, the Guardian GT has a couple of advantages that make it more dexterous than its contemporaries: For example, the Guardian GT's control systems are kinematically equivalent to the human body. This allows the operator to control what's effectively a larger version of his or her own torso and arms.
The Guardian also employs force feedback so the operator can feel through the machine's hands. This creates a strange sensation when the operator is lifting a large object, like say a 1,000-pound pipe.
"That's a little disorienting, so we give a little bit of load into the arm," Wolff says. Meaning, the robot pushes back a tiny bit. "So instead of lifting a thousand pounds you feel like you're lifting five." (How it's able to do this without the herky-jerkiness of other robots comes down to special actuators, the bits that move and bend the arms. What exactly is special about them, Wolff declines to say, because he's a good businessman.)