A group of researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute and Harvard SEAS have developed an innovative multi-joint exoskeleton which can help extend the range of soldiers and emergency workers.
The soft exosuit features an automatic tuning strategy which can reduce fatigue and injury in soldiers and emergency workers. This technology could also be an effective way of assisting the elderly and mobile impaired lead more active lives.
The device supports mobility through the application of mechanical forces to critical joints of the body.
The team demonstrated both in the lab and in the field that the suit reduces fatigue and allows users to be active for longer. The research will continue to see how it can be adapted to help people in other industries and situations.
The groundbreaking invention is made from textile components that wraps around the waist, thighs, and calves. Its mobile actuation system is built into a standard military rucksack.
Mechanical forces are transmitted by cables that are guided through the exosuit soft components to ankle and hip joints, allowing the exosuit to add power to the wearers ankles and hips to assist with leg movements during the walking cycle.
“We have updated all components in this new version of the multi-joint soft exosuit: the apparel is more user-friendly, easy to put on and accommodating to different body shapes; the actuation is more robust, lighter, quieter and smaller; and the control system allows us to apply forces to hips and ankles more robustly and consistently,” said David Perry, a co-author of the study into the suit.
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