A direct consequence of aging is that people have a frustrating and problematic experience in walking fast. At times the problem also occurs among young people making this problem a very common issue worldwide. Research suggests that exoskeletons might have the potential to improve the physical quality of life amongst people, especially the aged.
A research group took cognizance of this situation and has developed a prototype exoskeleton system. They noted the pervasiveness of slower than the desired walking and constructed a system that attaches itself around the shin and into the shoe. This device is extremely beneficial and revolutionary progress for the Exoskeleton Industry as it has been demonstrated to increase the walking speed of people considerably under experimental settings.
The exoskeleton is powered eternally through motors and is controlled by an algorithm. After optimizations, researchers discovered that it was able to improve the walking speed of participants by 42% on average. This is way faster than what they were able to achieve walking normally.
The team revealed that their objective was to augment the walking speed through exoskeletons; however, they were positively surprised by the amazing results achieved.
The participants invited for the experiments were all in the category of young, and healthy adults. With the successful completion of this research, the team is expecting to take the experiments a step further and check their development with the aged. This will help them in further improving the exoskeleton design and maybe building one that can work in real situations.
The basic goal to be achieved by this research was to better understand the science of biomechanics and motor control that is present behind human locomotion. The knowledge can then be applied to improve regular life.
The mode of exoskeleton that worked for optimization of speed and led to a 42% increase in walking pace was created by a human-in-the-loop process. An algorithm that helped adjust the exoskeleton continuously while the user walked. This led to better speed with each adjustment that took place. It took the team around 150 rounds of adjustment and two hours per participant to come across the perfect speed-optimization mode.
Progress in exoskeletons and robotics, in general, are of great benefit to people suffering from any physical disability. The team is optimistic that their new exoskeleton design will be immensely helpful to people as its design is improved and tested with larger and more diverse groups. One day it can very well be used to assist impaired people.
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