A team of scientists at Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard Institute have developed a revolutionary autonomous wearable multi-joint exosuit that offers personalised assistance while walking. Led by the mechanical and biomedical engineer, Connor Walsh, the creation is the output of their relentless pursuit for five years. Although there have been prom ising prototypes developed in the past, they are either bulky and uncomfortable to wear owing to rigidity. But the newly created exosuit has been developed keeping in view of the obstacles that have been faced with earlier creations. The new exosuit is user friendly easy to wear and easily suits various body shapes.
Let’s look at the detailed architecture of the Multi-joint Exosuit:
The exosuit is made up of soft textile components that can be worn around ankles, hips and calves. Further through the mobile actuation system that is worn near the waist and integrated into the military backpack the required mechanical forces are supplied through the joints via cables. When the person begins walking, the system measures the power and regulates the control parameters accordingly to maximise exosuit’s performance in line with individuals gait mechanics.
In this way, the exosuit assists persons walking and save a bit of energy while walking and running. The researchers observed metabolic parameters in seven study participants wearing exosuits and found that the metabolic cost of walking was reduced by as much as 15%. Keeping in view of the enormous benefits it has in offer for overburdened soldiers in the battlefield, DARPA has funded the project as part of the warrior web program. Also, the exosuit has been completely field-tested by the soldiers who walked 12-mile cross country course.
Applications of the Multi-joint exosuit:
The suit comes in handy for firefighters and rescue workers who often need to overcome uneven terrains. By wearing this exosuit, they can remain fresh for the Job. In the battlefield, where the soldiers have to walk long distances with heavy loads on their back these exosuits save tremendous energy. Further, they are are a blessing in disguise for those who are battling movement disorders and also improves mobility for the elderly.
The entire research work is published in the Journal of NueroEngineering and Rehabilitation.