Friday, 08 Oct, 2010 Technology

Latest Invention: New-Gen Exoskeleton from Berkeley Bionics


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Berkeley Bionics, a company based in California, presented at a press conference its latest invention - eLEGS exoskeleton. The device was developed for paraplegics and is controlled via an onboard computer. It helps those afflicted with paraplegia to get out of their wheelchairs, stand and even walk.

One can wear the eLEGS over clothing. The device is built in a way to allow people get in and out of it in just one or two minutes.

Besides, eLEGS can be adjusted in order to fit people between 5'2'' and 6'4'' (157 and 193 cm), and weighing under 220 lbs (100 kg).

When the user got in the exoskeleton, the computer makes use of built-in sensors to monitor their gestures. Based on the gestures, it then analyzes user's intentions and reacts accordingly in real time.

The exoskeleton weights 45 lbs (20 kg). It includes a battery that can hold for about 6 hours, under normal use. The device registers a walking speed of about 2mph (3.22km/h).

Researchers will carry out the first clinical tests early next year. In the second half of 2011 a number of such exoskeletons are expected to be offered to some American rehabilitation clinics.

The company also wants the device to be available for home users. It is worth mentioning that Berkeley Bionics is the developer of the Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC), an exoskeleton that is available on the market and which makes it possible for the able-bodied soldiers to carry loads weighting up to 200 lbs (91 kg).

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