Dreaming to become a fast runner? This Robotic Exosuit could turn you into one

Robotic Exosuit for runners
There is a popular saying that so many people are born great while few achieve greatness, this can be applied in this distinguished technology.

No athlete can become good in the field without intense training and dedication. During the training or practice, some devices can be used and this technology will surely worth trying out.

A group of Researchers from Wyss Institute and Harvard SEAS have developed what is viewed as a soft robotic exosuit that significantly boosts a person’s running performance.

For the device to work, it requires a tether and external power. Analysis shows that it could help athletes run faster and further than before, beating their existing running records without having to undergo additional training.

During testing, the technological Device was shown to reduce the metabolic cost of running by 5.4 percent (metabolic cost being the amount of oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide produced while running).

Robotic Exosuit for runners

The percentage might not sound cool to you, but to a long distance runner, it’s a substantial increase in performance. In real terms, it could make a 26.2 mile marathon feel like 24.9 miles, or improve a runner’s pace from 9:14 minutes per mile to 8:49 minutes per mile.

These findings now appear in the journal Science Robotics.
How it works: the device designed with textile is light in weight and it also moves with the body. Flexible wires are connected to an external actuator unit, which provides the power.

When a person runs on a treadmill with the suit on, the actuator pulls on the wires. Once activated, the wires perform the function of a second set of hip extensor muscles, applying force to the legs with each stride.

Challenges faced: Designing the device was one problem, but knowing when the machine should exert pressure and engage the wires during running proved to be a different challenge entirely.

To figure out the optimal way to boost the running stride, the researchers use two models—one based on observations of a person running, and another based on a simulation of exoskeleton-assisted running. Surprisingly, the computer model produced the best results, taking the movement of the whole body into account rather than focusing on individual body parts.

A system of actuation wires as viewed on the picture which is attached to the back of the exosuit provides assistive force to the hip joint during running.

Read Also: Best 5 humanoid Robots

Goal: “Our goal is to develop a portable system with a high power-to-weight ratio so that the benefit of using the suit greatly offsets the cost of wearing it,” said Lee in a statement. “We believe this technology could augment the performance of recreational athletes and/or help with recovery after injury.”

Although not figured out, but if it eventually become a reality,  it could revolutionise both professional and recreational running.

It could complicate races greatly, and result in cheating. Once on the market, organisers will have to check runners to make sure they’re not wearing these devices during sporting events.

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