Sprinting To The Future: Robo-shorts That Help Runners Get Ahead

Sprinting to the future: robo-shorts that help runners get ahead

Washington, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 16th Aug, 2019 ) :Once confined to comic books, exosuits that enhance a wearer's physical abilities took a step forward Thursday as researchers unveiled a pair of robotic shorts that assist in walking and running.

The entire get-up, which includes a battery that straps around the waist and a motor on the lower back that connects to pull-cables, weighs just five kilograms (11 Pounds) and detects its wearer's gait to appropriately adjust its output.

Walking and running are very different activities from a biomechanical viewpoint, and previous devices had focused on boosting one or the other, but not both, co-author Conor Walsh from Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering told AFP.

"So I think it's a step towards these devices not only helping with a single activity, but devices that eventually can help people in their everyday lives, in many different ways across many different activities," he said.

The breakthrough required developing a control algorithm that used three sensors to detect with 99 percent accuracy what the wearer was doing and respond accordingly.

In a paper published in the journal Science on Thursday, the team from Harvard University and the University of Nebraska Omaha wrote that the suit reduces the average energy cost of walking by 9.3 percent and running by 4.0 percent, a range of improvement that has been shown to be meaningful in athletic performance.

Ninety percent of the device's weight is located close to the body's center of mass, thereby reducing its burden and enhancing movement, said co-first author Jinsoo Kim.

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