An exoskeleton was developed to help improve walking for individuals with mobility difficulties. Early results show it can help improve walking speed up to 42%.
Seungmoon Song, a postdoctoral fellow in mechanical engineering and lead author of the paper, says seven out of ten participants walked faster and consumed less energy.
The exoskeleton prototype has three different modes:
- optimizing for speed,
- optimizing for energy use, and
- a placebo mode that can make the user even walk slower.
The ankle exoskeleton system works on different algorithms that reduce users’ energy use by about 2% per meter traveled.
After such a successful experiment, the researchers plan to reduce energy use and improve the comfortability of the ankle exoskeleton emulators.
Future experimentations will also recognize the importance of improving body balance and reducing the pain caused by weight on an individual’s joints.
The significance of this technology is not lost on the research team, especially when it comes to older people. The team will continue to optimise the technology to enable for a more natural use and easier adoption.
As a proud grandson of a lovely lady who unfortunately suffers from hip problems, this sounds very promising. It might not come in time to help my grandma, but if it does ensure someone else gets a better life overcoming disability challenges, it definitely has my vote.
Read the full article here: Exoskeleton could one day boost walking speed of older adults – Futurity
If this sounds interesting, a ready2use tech to rehumanise lives – at least in the workplace – is already available. I wrote about this in my original blog post here.