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Tight-fitting and light exosuit aids walking and running through AI

By Cal Jeffrey ยท 9 replies
Aug 15, 2019
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  1. Engineers from Harvard University and the University of Nebraska have developed an ultra-portable exosuit that can assist the wearer while walking and running. Artificial intelligence can adjust the actuator to the user's gait. It does not matter who is wearing the device, the algorithms will figure out the proper adjustments.

    Weighing in at just 5kg, the device works with the wearer's gluteal muscles to increase the torque delivered by the hip joint. Depending on whether the person is walking or running, the onboard microprocessors will adjust the assistance properly to account for the precise muscle movements required for either activity (inverted-pendulum while walking or spring-mass motion while running).

    According to the team's paper published in Science, early testing of the exosuit reduced the wearer's metabolic rate by nine percent while walking and by four percent when running. A previous design offered a 17.4-percent reduction in metabolic expenditure, but could only aid in walking.

    Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences notes the device has definite rehabilitation potential. However, the researchers have hopes to see it applied in other areas such as industrial work or even recreational activities such as hiking mountain trails.

    "It is very satisfying to see how far our approach has come," said Conor Walsh engineering professor and founder of Harvard's Biodesign Lab. "We are excited to continue to apply it to a range of applications, including assisting those with gait impairments, industry workers at risk of injury performing physically strenuous tasks, or recreational weekend warriors."

    Despite having commercial potential, the researchers did not mention commercialization plans other than the possible applications.

    Image credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

    Permalink to story.

  2. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,867   +695

    This is worthy tech. Walking is fun but hard for many because they are breaking down physically through no fault of their own.
  3. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,389   +1,020

    If I had a heavy exosuit, I would wear it turned off so the extra weight would train my body to carry more weight - building more muscle mass.

    I'd only turn it on when I was ready to fight the Avengers.
    Cal Jeffrey likes this.
  4. Nero7

    Nero7 TS Evangelist Posts: 460   +194

    Dragon Ball much?
  5. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,098   +3,655

    You can already buy a weight vest for about $100. This kind of weight training doesn't put on much muscle mass though, it's mostly dense lean muscle.
  6. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,389   +1,020

    The whole point of an exosuit is to give you abilities beyond what man is capable of. Lift more weight...carry more weight for longer distances, etc. I would use it to build my own muscles and then turn it on when the cops start some ****.
  7. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,098   +3,655

    In all likely hood, if you can afford an exosuit the cops certainly can. Can't wait for the fully armored swat exosuits lol.
    Ludak021 likes this.
  8. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 884   +382

    Until the US army fields theirs a lot, I doubt cops will have them, most info on the army variants went quiet a few years ago so It's prob abandoned or under more intense development and field testing. I don't really see a need for SWAT to have these very often, they don't have to cover the distance on foot that soldiers would be asked to do, and there equipment load will be lighter since they arn't carrying tools and food for survival for a 24 hour time period.
  9. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,098   +3,655

    Remember, this is with the assumption that we are at a point in the future were even a regular person can afford them. From holding additional gear, chasing down perps, protection from gunfire, and restraining a suspect are all reasons cops would use them. The loadout can be changed depending on what an officer is being dispatched for. No police station is going to pass up an opportunity to enhance it's officer's performance in the field and reduce the chance of work related injury.
    Cal Jeffrey and Ludak021 like this.
  10. Cal Jeffrey

    Cal Jeffrey TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,828   +442

    Agreed. And you ever watch Live PD? There is an officer on that show that I have witnessed losing two foot chases (and I've only watched twice lol) -- walking around looking for the guy all huffing' and puffin'. He could use the model in this article for sure. :joy:
    Evernessince likes this.

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