While some powerful exoskeletons provide “super strength” for healthy users, other exoskeletons are designed to keep people at risk of normal activity,media reported. The new version of the latter is said to be lighter and more responsive to users than other versions on the market.
The lower body device, currently in prototype form, was developed in collaboration with the University of New York and the University of Texas’s Houston Center for Health Science (UTHealth). It was originally invented by Dr. Su Hao of City University of New York.
The exoskeleton is intended for use by older people who are still active but have difficulty walking for long periods of time. According to the Journal of Public Health, 32 percent of people over the age of 65 face challenges as they walk through three city blocks.
Like other auxiliary exoskeletons, the model uses an integrated motor that provides an electric boost to the wearer’s gait. It is reported to be not as heavy as similar products, and its motor is activated by the user’s own leg movements.
“Our prototype is about 60 percent lighter than the commercially available exoskeleton,” said Dr. Gerard Francisco, professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at UTHealth’s McGovern School of Medicine. “Furthermore, our model is run by users, not robots. The wearer will not be forced to walk along a pre-defined path. “
Now researchers plan to test older people with unstable gait and difficulty walking. It is hoped that the final version of the device can be worn under the user’s clothes.
“Despite advances in exoskeleton technology, state-of-the-art exoskeleton is not suitable for independence and community life,” said Zhang Shuxiu, an assistant professor at McGovern Medical School. There is an urgent need for wearable robots that can improve the quality of life of a wider population in a community setting. “