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:4/13/2017)... April 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and ... will feature emerging and evolving technology through its 3D ... will run alongside the expo portion of the event ... and demonstrations focused on trending topics within 3D printing ... and manufacturing event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period 2017-2021. ... been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from ... prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... , April 6, 2017 Forecasts ... ANPR, Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, Government ... Oil, Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), Industrial, ... Other) Are you looking for a definitive ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2017)... ... June 26, 2017 , ... Third Wave Bioactives, LLC announces the addition of ... leading new business development and ensuring quality customer experience. , Brett brings ... industry in technical, marketing and sales roles. “Brett’s background working with customers and eye ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... , ... June 23, 2017 , ... Ken Hanson, a ... of Physik Instrumente USA, have been selected as this year’s recipients of two top ... two have been invited along with other honorees to accept their awards at a ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... AZ. (PRWEB) , ... June 21, 2017 , ... Building ... bigger, more inspiring, and more informative on the very latest developments in radical life ... and fun of a festival, and the empowerment of personal development, making it the ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... 22, 2017 , ... The first human cell line HeLa, established in 1951, ... on cross-contamination of human cell lines with HeLa cells were published. Until recently, cross-contamination ... labs and is associated with dramatic consequences for research. , In this educational ...
Breaking Biology Technology: