DARPA bets $ 2.9M on the flexible exoskeleton

Soft-ExosuitIf for you, an exoskeleton necessarily similar to how robocop armor, researchers Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard might surprise you.
They work on a different approach based on flexible sensors and smart textiles. A lightweight exoskeleton to wear out like a garment, for the military, but also the elderly, fire and hikers, is the concept of “Soft Exosuit.” One approach is to follow the American defense while pursuing projects armor way “Iron Man” in parallel.

A robotics inspired by biomechanics

Activation of muscles is triggered textiles according to the movements of the flexible carrier detected by sensors.

Activation of muscles is triggered textiles according to the movements of the flexible carrier detected by sensors.

The approach researchers Wyss Institute is radically different from that of roboticists. They are based in fact of nature to create an exoskeleton that mimics or rather amplifying human walking through textiles muscles. Approach out of traditional technologies since even the sensors are flexible. DARPA, the American military base dedicated to funding innovative projects, has allocated $ 2.9 million to develop the exoskeleton of a different type. Among the applications mentioned in this flexible exoskeleton, equipment soldiers of course, but also firefighters, the walking assistance for seniors or even outfits hikes. medexo It is therefore an exoskeleton to wear as a piece of clothing, a new “wearable” Catalogue of connected objects.medexoIl s’agit donc d’un exosquelette à porter comme une pièce de vêtement, un nouveau “wearable” au catalogue des objets connectés.

The applications are different from those of the exoskeleton “traditional” since it will not allow the wearer to raise titanic loads such as TALOS, HULC and FORTIS, other exoskeletons in project of the American army. It will not stand paralyzed either because it is not rigid. By cons, easier to implement than those without robots brain, “Soft Exosuit” the Wyss Institute allows muscles to assist the wearer and increase strength and endurance. One day perhaps will one find an intelligent garment derived from this flexible exoskeleton at Sport Authority or Paragon Sport.

Sources :

“Harvard’s Wyss Institute awarded DARPA contract to further develop Soft Exosuit”, Communiqué Wyss Institute, 11 septembre 2014

“Meet the exoskeleton the Navy is testing to make sailors stronger”, The Washington Post, 3 septembre 2014

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