Saturday, October 9, 2010

Berkeley Bionics’ newest exoskeleton lets wheelchair users walk

From: Berkeley Bionics’ newest exoskeleton lets wheelchair users walk

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This is pretty damn sweet, but how come 9 years after the introduction of the Segway nobody has tried to make an exoskeleton like this one but taking advantage of the self-balancing wizardry of the Segway vehicles (a similar technology was used in Dean Kamen’s design for a wheelchair that lifts the user to eye level and rides on just two wheels).

I imagine the problem is going to be because this new exoskeleton is very compact, and adding the gyroscopes plus whatever else needed to keep it balanced would make the thing too bulky. Or it could be that the exoskeleton relies on flat feet instead of wheels, and there’s no known way of using the Segway idea for self-balancing on things that stand on legs. Still, it is a pretty badass invention.

On a related note, it also looks more than a little bit familiar with some prototypes that the US Army is testing for future load bearing exoskeletons.
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