Perhaps in the near future exoskeletons will be able to fully replace traditional means of transport for people with problems of the musculoskeletal system.
Usually the skeletons are equipped with electric motors in the “joints” where the efforts are transmitted to the hard components connected to the legs of the patient, providing him the opportunity to move around. However, most rehabilitative exoskeleton is a serious drawback – the inability to turn to the side and turn 180 degrees. In fact, disabled exoskeleton “doomed” to only go straight until you find the ability to turn with the help of foreign objects.
That is why the American John Stephen together with his counterparts from Panasonic is developing a soft exoskeleton, fitted with a mechanical unit on the back. The unit consists of eight motors, batteries and control system.
Instead of several separate engines, he actuates the foot of its owner by means of four actuators at the hips. Actuators, in turn, trigger a soft plastic, tight leg, who takes on the role of the human muscles responsible for movement. According to one of participants of the project of Steve Collins, slinky fabric, which are made from these synthetic muscles, allows you to change the position of the feet in several directions.
During preliminary testing of the exoskeleton was tested on five healthy volunteers blindfolded. In each case when the direction of movement they never lost balance. Now turn to tests with people with disabilities.