American physiologists from the University of North Carolina have come up with a device that makes walking easier. The small exoskeleton is worn on the legs and does not require power supplies. The device saves up to 7% of the energy that the body spends when walking. At the same time, the device itself weighs 300-500 grams, which is comparable to the weight of ordinary shoes – therefore, the energy advantage is not canceled out by carrying weights. Scientists have been working on similar devices for a long time, which should help both people with health problems and those who have to walk a lot – the military, rescuers, etc. In 2013, a similar apparatus was demonstrated by another group of researchers. Their device saved about 6% of walking energy – but required an external power source. worked with compressed air. The work on the device took about five years, and it became possible only thanks to the achievements of modern science. For example, the basic details about the work of the gastrocnemius muscle and the Achilles tendon became known only in the 2000s, when scientists were able to use ultrasound to study the work of these muscles and ligaments in motion. The system duplicates the movements and stretches of the gastrocnemius muscle and the Achilles tendon, accumulating energy in the spring as the leg moves. The spring then contracts, helping the muscles to flex the foot, thereby assisting in walking.
The testers note that using the device and getting used to it is not at all difficult. After about 20 minutes, the body completely adjusts to the device, and you just forget about it. But immediately after removal, it creates a feeling as if some of the strength disappears from the legs, and they hold the walker worse.
While the device is not ready for widespread sale – in particular, the prototype works only at certain speeds. If you try to run with him, he will break. To create a universal exoskeleton, you have to somehow use modern materials. But already now, researchers claim that the final cost of the device will not exceed $ 1000.
Inventors have been interested in the topic of help with walking and running for a long time. Home -made projects of both Khabrovites and foreign inventors are already known , as well as studies commissioned by the military themselves .