Exoskeleton lightens soldiers’ burdens
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 20 (UPI) — U.S. scientists have created a device that lessens the risk of injury for soldiers and others who must carry heavy packages or equipment.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers created an exoskeleton that can assume 80 percent of an 80-pound load carried on a person’s back, the scientists said. However, the current model impedes the natural walking gait of the person wearing it.
“You can definitely tell it’s affecting your gait,” said Conor Walsh, a graduate student who worked on the project, “but you do feel it taking the load off and you definitely feel less stress on your upper body.”
Team members said they hope to revise the design so the exoskeleton more closely mimics the movement of a human leg, allowing for more normal walking motion.
Associate Professor Hugh Herr, who led the research, said he envisions leg exoskeletons that could help people run without breathing hard, as well as help to carry heavy loads.
“Our dream is that 20 years from now, people won’t go to bike racks — they’ll go to leg racks,” he said.
The study appears in the September issue of the International Journal of Humanoid Robotics.
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