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New Exoskeleton Will Help You Walk More Efficiently

posted: 04/03/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Passive-Elastic Ankle Exoskeleton
Stephen Thrift

We all want our cars and appliances to be energy efficient - what if we could make our bodies similarly efficient? Researchers at North Carolina State University and and Carnegie Mellon University have produced a boot-like exoskeleton that reduces energy consumption while walking by 7%.

Researchers hope that the the device could help stroke victims walk with a more efficient gait. "Someday soon we may have simple, lightweight and relatively inexpensive exoskeletons to help us get around, especially if we've been slowed down by injury or aging," said Dr. Steven Collins, a mechanical engineer from Carnegie Mellon University.

Weighing as much as a shoe, the surprisingly simple device attaches to the user's lower leg and uses a clutch and spring system to strategically transfer energy to and from the calf muscles and the Achilles' tendon.

According to Dr. Greg Sawicki, the device removes approximately 10 pounds of force from the body - an "appreciable" difference.

Click here for more information from North Carolina State University

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