PHOENIX - Robots don’t have to be our mortal enemy. In fact, some are designed to enhance human life.

Tom Sugar, an Arizona State University professor, believes robots can improve the human condition. He is working on systems that can help humans perform their jobs.

“If we can meld the ability of the human to make judgments and change and solve problems," he said, "but then working directly with the machine to lift things and move things, we are making them more successful, more happy.”

Tom and his team of graduate students are working on "wearable robotics" or robots that help with mobility.

"They allow you to get up out of a wheelchair, maybe walk around," he said. "They also assist to help you hold your arms up and carry heavy things. They also help when you squat down and bend over and help in your lower back."

The exoskeleton technology wraps around a weak or pained part of the body and assists the muscles.

"We see this technology growing rapidly with the aging population, with people needing help in the workforce," Tom said.

On Wednesday, Tom and a variety of other business leaders in the science of wearable robotics are meeting downtown at the Hyatt as part of the WearRAcon17, a conference put on by the Wearable Robotics Association.