We've been fascinated by the 'body suit' system that is used to control the fighting moves of the champion Robo-One robot - The Great Majingaa. The son straps on the suit, then proceeds to put the robot through amazing gyrations, usually knocking the block off his opponents. Now we finally discovered how it's done.
According to the Great Majingaa's Japanese website, the control system uses a basic master/slave design. There's control box (actually more of a junction box since no 'control' functions take place in the box) and A/D converter in the center of the frame that attaches to the operator's back. They use a parallel interface to communicate the move data to the main PC. 50k ohm variable resistors (typical volume controls) are used to encode the joint positions.
The webpage goes into a lot of detail covering problems that they ran into during the design, the need to not scrimp on some items like parts for the joints, and how torsional moves were added to the harness during a later design phase.
Although it isn't shown in the webpage photos (which are excellent by the way) they have added some elbow padding to the harness, probably to protect the operator.
Great Majingaa Control System [Japanese]