Hip-Only Soft Exosuit Robotic Shorts
Photo credit: The Verge
Exoskeleton suits are nothing new, but Harvard University researchers have created a new hip-only soft exosuit that’s basically a pair of robotic shorts designed to make one feel lighter when walking or running. This 11-pound system, built around a pair of flexible shorts, comes equipped with a motor that you wear on your lower back. The motors worn on the lower back are connected to the wearer’s thighs through a series of actuation cables, and by applying force to them, the system assists the gluteal muscles in powering the legs. Read more for a video and additional information.

What does it feel like when wearing them? The researchers say that the wearer feels like an “inverted pendulum” when walking, and running gives them the sensation of a “spring-mass system.” How much does it help? They measured participants walking as well as running on a treadmill, and the exo-suit reduced their metabolic cost by 9.3 and 4 percent respectively.