Mechanical engineers from The University of Utah are currently developing a powered exoskeleton to help amputees walk again, and it utilizes motors, microprocessors, as well as advanced algorithms to help them regain mobility with less effort. At 5.4-pounds, the device is designed to be as comfortable as possible, thanks to a carbon fiber frame, plastic composites and aluminum parts. Read more for a video and additional information.
Unlike other powered exoskeletons, this one is worn around the person’s waist and leg, all powered by battery-operated electric motors and microprocessors. Right on the user’s thigh above the amputation area, there’s an electromechanical actuator and waist harness that contains the custom electronic systems, microcontrollers, and sensors running advanced control algorithms.
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It’s equivalent to taking off a 26-pound backpack. That is a really big improvement. We’re very close to what an average person would expend at the same speed. The metabolic consumption is almost indistinguishable from that of an able-bodied person, depending on the fitness level,” said Tommaso Lenzi, Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor at The University of Utah.