Exoskeleton Suits 3
Articles about exoskeleton suits and technologies used to build the robotic suits
Inside the human body, the brain is the ultimate computer connected to the body parts to control these. Researchers and engineers work to design robotic frames that aim to help paralyzed people to walk again using the brain signals. MindWalker is the first exoskeleton prototype controlled by brain signals, a project started by the European Commission.
After three working years and new technologies developed, in the labs of several major universities and companies the first prototype took shape and was revealed. The external frame is connected to the human body, support the entire weight and move the legs in accordance with the brain signals.
Before the physical use of an exoskeleton, users have to learn how to use the brain signal system that control the exoskeleton. Developing a virtual-reality environment, users learns step by step how to control the mind-controlled exoskeleton virtually.
Researchers and engineers build MindWalker to be controlled in different ways, but only one control system is perhaps the best. Using an EEG cap to read the brain activity is perhaps the easiest way to control the exoskeleton for users. In addition, this control system uses a pair of glasses and flickering diodes located on each lens.
An exoskeleton suit is designed to provide support, assistance and protection for the human body. Starting from these main functions and combining several technologies, researchers create robotic suits for military use to help soldiers with a bit of super-human strength, medical exoskeleton suits that offer hope for paralyzed persons, and exosuits that augments the human strength and speed.
The idea of an armor that cover the human body and provides extra power occurred many years ago, more precisely in 1868 in a science fiction book called “The Steam Man of the Prairies.” Since then we assist to a revolution and a constant effort to develop light but strong mechanical suits that can work for several hours, restore the ability to walk or improve the maneuverability and agility of humans.
Reviewing all the exoskeleton suits from assistant, medical and military use, I would like to help you to stay in touch with the most popular exosuits in prototyping phase or available for sale.
HAL is one of the most advanced exoskeleton suit with a long history since 1992 when the suit was released. Behind this project is a Japanese company called Cyberdyne, which recently released the fifth version of the costume with new and improved features.
HAL is available for commercial use and is mainly used in industry to lift weights, for medical purposes by patients with limb disabilities, or in common activities.
The suit is split in two parts: half of the suit is located on the top side of the human body, while the second part is for legs. The total height of the suit is 1.6 meters and weighs only 23 Kg. It is powered by a battery that last up to 2 hours and 40 minutes in a full working stage when the user can walk, lift weights, or use the suit for entertainment.
HAL is not perfect and cannot be used as a superhero. One of his limits is the maximum weight that can be lifted and limited to 70Kg, which I have to recognize that is a good value, more than a human can support. (more…)
Power Loader is a robotic exoskeleton designed as an additional human force tool in working hard conditions. The system able to increase the force was developed by a subsidiary venture closely related to Panasonic and called Activelink.
The idea behind this exoskeleton is to design a power amplifier to help humans to work in hard conditions and lift much higher weight than using the power of hands.
This external frame has integrated force sensors able to read the force input of a person. Depending on the force applied by the user, a signal is sent to motors with the scope to amplify the force that the user can’t achieve alone.
It supports a maximum capacity of around 50-60 Kg. The exoskeleton moves in any direction the weight without too much effort from the operator. Each hand can carry a loading weight up to 30 Kg.
Another version developed by Activelink was used at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Based on this exoskeleton, all the improvements were added to this latest version that comes with a compact design and called Power Loader Light.