The wearable robot that allows you to carry weights as if you did not carry it on you

The wearable robot that allows you to carry weights as if you did not carry it on you

Researchers from Harvard University have created what they call a wearable robot that can help us travel long distances without getting tired.

Most projects related to exoskeletons seek two different things: either to help us overcome our limits, or to help us if our body does not give more than if due to a disease.

The examples of exoskeleton that we have seen in recent years can fit into these two categories, whether they are models designed for factory workers to lift heavy weights, or to help paraplegics walk, for example.

An ideal wearable robot for hiking days

Instead, researchers at Harvard University believe that we can use these types of devices in our daily lives, without the need for any excuses, just so we don’t get tired. For example, to support the weight of our backpack during a day of hiking.

Sure, for that the exoskeleton has to be reduced to the minimum expression, since nobody wants to go around there with a thing on their feet. That is why researchers do not call their creation an exoskeleton, but a wearable robot.

These wearable robots can improve the performance of healthy and capable people, reducing the energy needed to perform simple tasks like riding with a heavy load, affirm its creators.

The wearable robot is very simple, it consists of a belt, two pieces for the thighs and another two for the calves, connected by cables to two 6.5 kg motors. that are carried in the backpack. No need to use a controller, the system works automatically as soon as we walk and helps us bear the weight.

To demonstrate its efficiency, tests involving motion capture technology and recording data related to muscle respiration, gait, and movement.

Each volunteer had to bring a backpack that weighed 30% of its body mass, at a speed of 1.5 meters per second. First they tried to walk with the backpack and the wearable robot disabled; Then they activated the robot, and finally, and as a control method, they made the volunteers walk with the backpack and without the wearable robot.

The results were interesting: on average, the system reduced the amount of energy used by 7.3%, and mainly helped to ease the load on the knees, hips and heels, although curiously the muscles did not enjoy a great change.

A difference of 7.3% does not seem like much, but in a long walk it can be the difference between walking at ease and shortness of breath; In addition, the team will use the data it has obtained to develop new prototypes, focusing on creating lightweight engines and a design that suits the body.

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