Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton

bleexWe've seen a few of these pop up in Japan, but now there's an American-made robotic exoskeleton suit, as well. Researchers at UC Berkeley have created the Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton, or BLEEX, which consists of

mechanical metal leg braces that are connected rigidly to the user at the feet, and, in order to prevent abrasion, more compliantly elsewhere. The device includes a power unit and a backpack-like frame used to carry a large load…The researchers point out that the human pilot does not need a joystick, button or special keyboard to "drive" the device. Rather, the machine is designed so that the pilot becomes an integral part of the exoskeleton, thus requiring no special training to use it. In the UC Berkeley experiments, the human pilot moved about a room wearing the 100-pound exoskeleton and a 70-pound backpack while feeling as if he were lugging a mere 5 pounds.

All we can say is that we're glad there's finally a homegrown powered exoskeleton out there.

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