Exoskeleton legs let you pull up a pew anywhere (Wired UK)


Noone


Are we human or are we cyborg? Given that many of us are
permanently attached to our smartphones, the answer may not be as
clear cut as we think. A new wearable device developed by a Swiss
company might challenge our definition of the word even more,
however.

The Chairolution is a
wearable leg assistive device that allows you to sit down without
the need for an actual seat. Using mechatronic technology, it is
basically a lightweight and energy efficient lower limb
alternative.

When the exoskeleton is not activated the wearer can run or walk
as normal. But when they are turned on a portable, variable damper
takes on the wearer’s body weight to relieve pressure on joints and
leg muscles. The device can be activated no matter what position
the user in, making it possible to stay in an everlasting squat –
probably.

The device attaches to the heel of the shoe, which is where body
weight is directed. To be clear, the Chariolution doesn’t enhance
leg strength, but just provides support to the muscles in the lower
limbs.

While the Chariolution might sound like something QVC might try
and flog to you, the device has in fact been designed based on
research from the Bio-Inspired
Robotics laboratory at ETH Zurich
. It’s not just designed for
use when you can’t find a seat in the pub either — the idea is
that it will take the pressure off the feet of industry
workers.

Noone, the company that
designed the device, imagines it being used in places like factory
environments, where there is no room for chairs, but where workers
usually have to stand for long periods of time. This should
hopefully prevent injury and also help those who may already be
suffering from muscle strain. The company has also said that it
eventually wants to use the technology in other markets such as
rehabilitation and physiotherapy.

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22 August 2014 | 10:03 am – Source: wired.co.uk

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