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Technology Engineers test a powered 'ankle exoskeleton' to make running easier

10:05  26 march  2020
10:05  26 march  2020 Source:   engadget.com

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Stanford engineers find ankle exoskeleton aids running . In contrast, the study suggested that if the exoskeleton was powered to mimic a spring there was still an increase in energy demand, making it 11 percent harder than running exoskeleton -free and only 2 percent easier than the non- powered

Graduate student Delaney Miller runs on a treadmill aided by the ankle exoskeleton emulator. In hopes of boosting physical activity—and possibly creating a new mode of transportation— engineers at Stanford University are studying devices that people could strap to their legs to make running easier .

Ankle exoskeletons could help you run longer and faster and even serve as a new mode of transportation, according to a team of Stanford University engineers. The engineers tested a motorized exoskeleton rig that attaches around the ankle and foot and found that it made running 15 percent easier. They explained that when the exoskeleton's motor is switched on, it reduces the energy cost of running and allows the user to run longer than they're usually capable of. The device can also boost a runner's speed by as much as 10 percent.

  Engineers test a powered 'ankle exoskeleton' to make running easier

Here's how the exoskeleton works: Its motors tug a cable running through the back of the rig from the heel to the calf. That pulls the foot upward during the toe-off, extending the ankle at the end of every step. Team member and Stanford grad student Delaney Miller said:

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People trying to get in shape could one day be assisted by an ankle exoskeleton that makes it much easier and less energy intensive to run . The robotic device was found in tests to slash energy expenditure by 14 per cent compared to running shoes.

The idea is to make it easier for the disabled, paralyzed or stroke victims to improve their walking ability without expensive motors and battery packs. By offloading some of the clutching muscle forces from the calf to the passive-elastic device, the researchers were able to reduce the overall metabolic rate of

"Powered assistance took off a lot of the energy burden of the calf muscles. It was very springy and very bouncy compared to normal running. Speaking from experience, that feels really good. When the device is providing that assistance, you feel like you could run forever."

The team also tried to make the exoskeleton mimic the movement of a spring, since our legs behave much like one when we run. But that surprisingly made running harder for the testers.

The engineers believe that the ankle exoskeleton and similar technologies could be used for various applications. Guan Rong Tan, another team member, suggested that in the future, "you could get off a bus, slap on an exoskeleton, and cover the last one-to-two miles to work in five minutes without breaking a sweat." It could also help you run alongside more athletic friends who may be used to seeing you give up halfway through.

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It makes carrying heavy loads easier . Lowe's worked with Virginia Tech on the project. 4. Ford assembly line workers are testing EksoVest. It helps reduce injury from repetitive tasks. 7. Ekso exoskeletons can help people with paraplegia walk again. It's a robot that adds power to your hips

Researchers say that the “ ankle exoskeleton ” reduces the metabolic cost of walking by 7%, which is roughly the equivalent of taking off a 10 lb Scientists have long been working on engineering exoskeletons that could make walking easier , but the consistent barrier to realize this has been the

Stanford, Science Robotics

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