Walking with a spring in your step, something that is about to become a very literal thing. The new exoskeleton technology doesn’t need advanced robotics or a medical procedure to enjoy its benefits. It slips on like a boot, uses your own muscle power to operate and can make walking a whole lot easier.
Engineers at Carnegie Mellon University created the effort-reducing ankle exoskeleton. The walking assist clutch operates a spring in parallel to your Achilles tendon, which in turn offloads strain on the calf muscles and makes walking easier. This can help people walk further and longer, but could also help people who have difficulty in moving, or existing medical conditions that require you to reduce the strain on your legs.
“I’ll tell you, it feels really cool,” Sawicki said. “There’s a comfortable sort of squishiness for the first 10 minutes. But then it becomes totally transparent. Your body just integrates it.”
It’s still in the prototype stage, but the inexpensive solution is still very cool and one we look forward to seeing developed further.
“When you take it off, you’re like, ‘oh, crap,'” Sawicki said. “You don’t realize how much it helped until it’s gone. You feel really clunky for a few minutes.”
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