Soldiers are usually subjected to do difficult tasks and carry heavy weight and walk through long distances. Moreover sometimes they have to fulfill the task under fire. No doubt all of these are very tough jobs which certainly tire the soldiers. Engineers, at Harvard University, have designed a special soft and flexible Exosuit for soldiers which will reduce their assiduity for achieving the required task. At last he solution is the soft ExoSkeleton suit.
The researchers believe that this soft exosuit will offload the tendons and muscles in the leg, thus increasing walking capability and reducing the injury risks.
Exoskeleton is superior to other traditional exoskeletons in many aspects. Unlike traditional exoskeleton system it does not implies heavy external components such as battery and other rigid components which may hurdle the free movement of the joints. Instead it is made of soft cloth woven from functional textile that is wear like the pair of pants. The soldiers can wear it under cloths by giving them a boost for special tasks. The suit neither hinders the movement of the body parts, nor makes the joints difficult to bend down.
The exosuit consists of a waste belt, two calf motors and two thigh pieces. It works by transmitting the signals from the body joints via the flexible straps. In the current prototype the lower half end of the suit contains a network of flexible sensors and a low power micro-processor. They act as nervous system and brain of the exosuit respectively and they monitor the movement of the body. The stretchable sensors detect that which joints are moving and the joining cables can give a little tow.
According to Connor Walsh, an assistant professor at Harvard University, the programmable suit can turn itself corresponding to the movement of the body’s muscles and joints.
In addition to military application the company will cooperate with medical partners to design a clinical version of the exosuit to assist the handicap and others which are unable to walk fast.
The researchers tested the suit in three different situations.
Seven loaders take part in the experiment and researchers analyze the breathing, metabolism, rotation of joints and kinematics of the body.
The result was an astounding of 7.3 percent reduction in consumed amount of energy during loaded walk. Additionally it also reduced the work done by hip knee and ankle keeping you relaxed on the go. Moreover the movement of ankle, knee and hip of the suit supported loaded walkers was same as for the unloaded walkers.
This shows that the suit does not hinder the movement of the walker instead it provides a free walking profile.
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David Abraham is the Electronics and Technology editor for the 55gadgets. He holds a university degree in Electronics. Although originally from Baku, he lives in Dubai.When David is not traveling the world you will find him in the kitchen cooking for two or on a friends club.
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