Exoskeleton that harnesses body energy and aids in stress-free walking
Walking and running like a super-human has always been your fantasy, hasn’t it? Exoskeletons and other contraptions have been trying it hard for the last decade with impressive results. Another effort to improve your motor skills while walking has come to light and it is also aimed at people with walking anomalies or the elderly section of society. NC State engineers and UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine have developed an exoskeleton which helps in preserving energy while walking and releasing it when needed.
This device has a clutch and spring which mimics the normal walking action of a human leg. In a way it sits on top of the Achilles tendon, providing the user with some extra energy to keep walking or running. In a test conducted on 9 able bodied subjects, the exoskeleton device was able to increase the walking efficiency by 7 percent and in ideal conditions even up to 12 percent. This is comparable to carrying 10-pounds less in your backpack.
The exoskeleton is captured in action using advanced motion-capture technology as the wearer walks on a treadmill. Each and every moment is analyzed, with and without the exoskeleton to conclude as to how much assist is achieved by the wearable device.
This project is still undergoing testing and development phase as the researchers are looking for ways to fine tune the functioning of exoskeleton. In the future when the device will be finally available for commercial use, it will provide plenty of options for people who have lost neurological function in their legs.