Exoskeleton for skiers gives your knees robotic boost

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Skiing and snowboarding aren't gentle on your body, especially if you're taking on a challenging run or plan on a long day. Now, however, technology might ease your burden. Roam Robotics has unveiled an exoskeleton built expressly to reduce the bur…
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Give your iPhone X an exoskeleton with the Radius X [Review]

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

The futuristic design of Mod-3’s Radius X makes it one of the most unusual iPhone X cases I’ve seen. If you’re after the ultimate minimalist case, or don’t like having a case on your phone but still want to protect it, the Radius X could be the perfect candidate. In fact, it’s less of a […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

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The FDA Just Approved a Robotic Exoskeleton That Augments Your Strength

HAL for Medical Use

Japanese robotics company Cyberdyne has officially received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make its lower-body exoskeleton, known as Hybrid Assisted Limb or HAL, available to U.S. patients. The exoskeleton, which would be available through licensed medical facilities only, uses sensors to detect bioelectric signals sent from your brain to your muscles, which it pairs with your movement (or intended movement) in order to increase strength and stability.

The approved version of HAL is known as HAL for Medical Use and was designed primarily for people with lower limb disabilities, and can help restore mobility and independence.

What sets HAL apart from other exoskeleton technologies that are currently available is that instead of using physical walking motions, it uses both voluntary movement and autonomous functionality. In other words, the exoskeleton works with the bioelectric signals of the wearer’s nervous system to “know” when and how to move.

US Debut

HAL has been shown to be especially helpful for people with lower-limb disabilities, as many of these conditions involve a disconnect between the person’s intentions to move (the signals the brain sends) and the actual muscle movement that follows — or, more often, doesn’t follow. The exoskeleton also supports itself while being worn, meaning there’s no added weight or stress on the wearer’s body while they’re operating it.

In the next few months, HAL’s U.S. debut will be at a cybernetic treatment center set to open in Jacksonville, Florida. For now, only the medical version of HAL will be officially available to patients. If the non-medical version is approved in the United States, however, the exoskeleton (and the added strength it provides) could become available to anyone.

The post The FDA Just Approved a Robotic Exoskeleton That Augments Your Strength appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

Ford Pilots a New Exoskeleton to Lessen Worker Fatigue

Simple Support

Working in a car factory in this current era isn’t too physically demanding, with robots doing pretty much all of the heavy-lifting. Yet, despite not having to carry so much weight, factory workers in Ford’s car manufacturing plants still do tedious and difficult work, considering how they have to perform overhead tasks repeatedly, up to 4,600 times a day or one million times a year.

To ease this burden and lessen the chances of injury, Ford has partnered with California-based exoskeleton maker Ekso Bionics to trial a non-powered upper body exoskeletal tool called EksoVest in two of the carmaker’s U.S. plants.

Designed to fit workers from five feet to six feet four inches tall, the EksoVest adds some 3 to 6 kilograms (5 to 15 pounds) of adjustable lift assistance to each arm. This exoskeleton is also comfortable enough to wear while providing free arm movement thanks to its lightweight construction.

Image credit: Ford
This exoskeleton is both easy and comfortable to use. Image Credit: Ford 

“Collaboratively working with Ford enabled us to test and refine early prototypes of the EksoVest based on insights directly from their production line workers,” Ekso Bionics co-founder and CTO Russ Angold said in a Ford press release. “The end result is a wearable tool that reduces the strain on a worker’s body, reducing the likelihood of injury, and helping them feel better at the end of the day – increasing both productivity and morale.”

Assistive Enhancements

While this isn’t the first exoskeleton designed to assist the human worker, the EksoVest demonstrates how such tools can prevent injury due to fatigue and provide physically disabled individuals the opportunity to regain lost abilities. Already, exoskeletons are being used to help paraplegics walk, and applications for these technologies are even being expanded to provide support and enhancement for soldiers.

The U.S. trial, made possible with support from the United Automobile Workers, has already shown demonstrated the wonders that the exoskeleton can offer in reducing fatigue from high-frequency tasks. As such, Ford plans to expand their EksoVest pilot program to other regions, which include Europe and South America.

“The health and safety of our membership has always been our highest priority,” said UAW-Ford Vice President Jimmy Settles. “With the proven success at the piloted locations, we look forward to expanding this technology to our other UAW-Ford manufacturing facilities.”

The post Ford Pilots a New Exoskeleton to Lessen Worker Fatigue appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

Ford tests exoskeleton to ease strain on factory workers

Companies are starting to propose functioning exoskeletons for real applications, from soldier support to helping paraplegic patients walk. But they could also be customized to help everyday workers with their harder tasks, as Lowe's lift-easing prot…
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Amazon’s Alexa Helps This Exoskeleton Respond to Spoken Instructions

“Alexa, Let’s Stand Up”

Canadian robotics company Bionik Laboratories has demonstrated a prototype of its Arke lower-body exoskeleton that can be controlled via Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa.

In normal usage, the Arke is controlled using an array of sensors that respond to the wearer’s natural movements. However, as the user gets used to the exoskeleton, they typically use a tablet to issue instructions. Since this could be too much multitasking, some might find voice commands to be more intuitive.

exoskeleton amazon alexa voice assistant
Users would typically control the Arke with this tablet interface. Image Source: Bionik Labs
The question is whether Alexa is reliable enough for use in clinical spaces, as neither the voice assistant technology or the exoskeleton itself has been cleared for this context. Amazon’s Echo device has a history of listening to the wrong instructions, which could cause major problems in this kind of situation.Alexa can be used to control everything from the world’s smallest drone to the locking mechanism in the doors of your BMW. However, most use cases aren’t quite as consequential as an exoskeleton that’s vital to the user’s ability to walk.

Rise of the Exoskeleton

Exoskeletons can also benefit able-bodied people — for instance, the “chairless chair” could be a major boon to anyone working a job that requires them to stand for long periods of time. Of course, the most life-changing effects will be felt by people who don’t have full control of their body.

Whether the condition is caused by old age or disability, an exoskeleton can vastly improve the wearer’s quality of life. Integrating support for Alexa commands into the Arke makes this technology much more accessible.

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While researchers have made progress toward developing non-invasive brain implants that could potentially control an exoskeleton, this is still an intimidating prospect for many potential users. Issuing voice commands isn’t anywhere near as daunting.

All this aside, there’s plenty of work to be done before an Alexa-enabled version of the Arke is commercially available. To make good on the promised prototype, a plethora of certification requirements are needed if this exoskeleton is to graduate to the advanced applications.

The post Amazon’s Alexa Helps This Exoskeleton Respond to Spoken Instructions appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

Russian exoskeleton suit turns soldiers into Stormtroopers

In a bid to make its armed forces look even more intimidating, Russia has taken inspiration from science-fiction to create some futuristic-looking new combat suits. Developed by the state-owned Central Research Institute for Precision Machine Buildin…
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