Superflex robotic suit learns wearer’s movement to kick in power when needed
Scientists around the world have been working on powered clothing that’ll make people’s lives easier. Exosuits or exoskeletons, if you may, are on the forefront of this future. Not really sure if hard metal suits can be categorized as clothing, but the way these exosuits are becoming lightweight and soft, they are steadily entering the spree to help those with limited mobility get back to normalcy. Following the heels of Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, a team of researchers at SRI International are working on Superflex – a soft exoskeleton that can learn how the wearer moves wearing it.
The Superflex robotic suit prototype is really lightweight and compact, and it has a very unique way of learning wearer’s movement in order to provide extra movement at the requisite time. The sensors aboard the Superflex turn wearer’s individual movement information into additional power; result is, the suit’s battery lasts longer than on most other similar suits where motor has to power all the assistance.
According to SRI Ventures president Manish Kothari,
Superflex’s goal is to remove all of those areas that cause psychological-type encumbrances and, ultimately, redignify the individual.
Easy to wear exosuit presently takes about five minutes to wear with some practice and can be used by elderly or those with limited mobility for better movement and by soldiers to conserve energy while carrying heavy loads on their back.
Kothari didn’t inform how much the suit would cost but informs they are seeking partners to commercialize it. He emphasized that cost has been a concern through the design process and the team is making all efforts to keep it affordable.