Navigation Links
21st-century pack mule: MIT's 'exoskeleton' lightens the load
Date:9/19/2007

CAMBRIDGE, MA -- Researchers in the MIT Media Lab's Biomechatronics Group have created a device to lighten the burden for soldiers and others who carry heavy packs and equipment.

Their invention, known as an exoskeleton, can support much of the weight of a heavy backpack and transfer that weight directly to the ground, effectively taking a load off the back of the person wearing the device.

In the September issue of the International Journal of Humanoid Robotics, the researchers report that their prototype can successfully take on 80 percent of an 80-pound load carried on a person's back, but there's one catch: 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.

The research team was led by Hugh Herr, principal investigator of the Biomechatronics Group and associate professor in the MIT Media Lab. Earlier this summer, Herr and his colleagues unveiled the world's first robotic ankle for lower-limb amputees.

Eventually Herr hopes to create assistive leg devices that can be useful for anyone. Herr 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.

Exoskeleton devices could boost the weight that a person can carry, lessen the likelihood of leg or back injury and reduce the perceived level of difficulty of carrying a heavy load.

The person wearing the exoskeleton places his or her feet in boots attached to a series of tubes that run up the leg to the backpack, transferring the weight of the backpack to the ground. Springs at the ankle and hip and a damping device at the knee allow the device to approximate the walking motion of a human leg, with a very small external power input (one watt).

Other research teams have produced exoskeleton devices that can successfully carry a load but require a large power source (about 3,000 watts, supplied by a gasoline engine).

When the MIT researchers tested their device, they found that although the load borne by the wearer's back was lightened, the person carrying the load had to consume 10 percent more oxygen than normal, because of the extra effort to compensate for the gait interference.

The team hopes to revise the design so the exoskeleton more closely mimics the movement of a human leg, allowing for more normal walking motion. The most important result of this study, says Walsh, is that the team's spring-based, low-energy design shows promise.

This is the first time that it has been tested, he said. We didn't know what to expect.


'/>"/>

Contact: Elizabeth Thomson
thomson@mit.edu
617-258-5402
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Research Permits First-Ever Visualization of Psychological Stress in the Human Brain
2. Scientists narrow the time limits for the human and chimpanzee split
3. A Jekyll and Hyde of cytokines: IL-25 both promotes and limits inflammatory diseases
4. Robotic exoskeleton replaces muscle work
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/21/2016)... Massachusetts , March 22, 2016 ... facial recognition with passcodes for superior security   ... ), a leading provider of secure digital communications services, ... their biometric technology and offer enterprise customers, particularly those ... secure facial recognition and voice authentication within a mobile ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... , March 15, 2016 Yissum ... , the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University, announced ... of remote sensing technology of various human biological indicators. ... raising $2.0 million from private investors. ... based on the detection of electromagnetic emissions from sweat ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... PUNE, India , March 11, 2016 ... to a new market research report "Image Recognition Market ... by Application (Marketing and Advertising), by Deployment Type (On-Premises ... Global Forecast To 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global ... in 2015 to USD 29.98 Billion by 2020, at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... New Jersey and ... Indegene ( http://www.indegene.com ... und marketingorientierten Lösungen für die Life-Science-Branche, Pharmaunternehmen ... ein bekannter weltweiter Anbieter von innovativen wissenschaftlichen ... Zuge des Starts von IntraScience heute den ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... 2016 Q BioMed Inc. (OTCQB: QBIO), ... a featured presenter at the 5th Annual Marcum MicroCap Conference ... City at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. ... Inc. CEO, is scheduled to begin at 11a.m ET in ... strategy, recent developments and outline milestones for the balance of ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... FireflySci has been manufacturing quartz and ... over the globe. Their cute firefly logo has been spreading to more and ... spectrophotometer calibration standards that never require recalibration. These revolutionary standards have changed ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... Fitzmaurice recently became double board-certified in surgery and surgery of the hand by ... Fitzmaurice is no stranger to going above and beyond in his pursuit of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: