This short robotic light facilitates the running and walking - Medianaij Medianaij: This short robotic light facilitates the running and walking
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Monday, August 19, 2019

This short robotic light facilitates the running and walking

© J. Kim and al

The exoskeletons are arriving slowly but surely, especially in the professional environment. These portable devices that allow humans to increase their physical abilities have already been tested in different industries, such as the Renault plant in Flins, where employees were able to test a exoskeleton to assist in the charging port.

A team of scientists recently presented in a paper published in Science a new exoskeleton, so revolutionary that we should not even call it that. Etymologically, exo– means “outside “, but in this case, this concept hardly exists any more ! The name of exosuit used by the English-speaking press is in this sense more appropriate (following means “combination” in this case, as in my spacesuit or swimsuit). And for good reason : it is in appearance a simple shorts, that looks very much like the one that has the common mortals !

This prototype is the result of a collaboration between researchers from several institutes : the institute Wyss of Harvard university, the university of Nebraska and the Chung-Ang university in Seoul. It is a exo-short “lightweight, fully portable, and made in the majority of flexible materials”. Its objective is tohelp its user to run and walk without effort, thanks to motorized cables that help the hips move in the optimum way when he raises the legs. Upon arrival, this short allows, therefore, touse less energy for the same movements.

The first exoskeleton is lightweight and flexible, capable of running

Exoskeletons lightweight, portable, and flexible had already allowed a human to walk without effort, but so far, the solution had never been found for the race. It is a mode of travel that is much more complex, which requires a co-ordination and management of the well balance top.

© J. Kim and al

To do this, the team told Gizmodo that they have developed an “algorithm that detects when the person is walking or running, to develop a power profile different.” And if the results are not transcendent, they are still significant : -9% of energy consumed during walking, and -4% during the race.

Probably not enough to warrant use in actual conditions right now, but widely enough to serve as a proof of concept. Especially as the avenues for improving this performance are, for certain, fairly simple to identify. It will for example continue to lighten all, that still weighs 5 kg at the current time with the engine. The team is already working on a version that is two times lighter, and therefore easier to handle.

Technology promised to a bright future

If these “exo-clothes” are just as much desire, and that is that they could make it ofimmense service in a set almost infinite fields of application. Light and practical, they are more handy and quick to operate that exoskeletons are rigid.

© J. Kim and al

In the first place, we obviously think about the use that already exists in the professional world. In a few years, the handling of loads of several hundred pounds for a whole day’s work could well become a formality. One can also imagine versions designed for secure work-risky, for example for workers who would work in high altitude, or that would manipulate toxic products. It is also expected that these technologies will have a place of first choice in the future of the conquest of space and astronautics.

These devices could also have many applications in medical, the rehabilitation for the full restoration of motor functions. The first devices of this kind are already beginning to see the light of day, as the ReStore Exo-Suit recently validated by the u.s. health authorities.

These exoskeletons are also one of the great fantasies of the community transhumanist, who would imagine to combine such devices to implant in the brain to increase existing capabilities, and even develop new ones. In the end, we imagine creating “exoskeletons” that would no longer have anything of exo, or skeleton , but that would be interfaces, robotic located near the muscles and nerve structures .

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