Human walking is a very efficient way of getting around. It does not hardly expend any energy when on a flat surface, and taking steady steps. However, for many who must work on their feet all day or who exert themselves during other physical activities, walking exerts a tremendous amount of energy and can be exhausting. Especially for those who are elderly or who have mobility issues, walking can be a tremendous strain on their bodies.
Human walking is essential and vital for daily life. Without it, it would be much more difficult to perform simple tasks. The unpowered ankle exoskeleton is one of the ways that scientists have helped to improve the efficiency of human walking.
The Unpowered Ankle Exoskeleton
The unpowered ankle exoskeleton as seen at North Carolina State University is currently the best way that scientists have to help give people a way to save energy by walking. It works by being attached to the outside of your ankle and then as you walk with it on, it helps to keep your muscles from compressing as much.
The reason that this particular unpowered ankle exoskeleton has succeeded where so many in the past have failed is because of the amazing detail of the studies that the researchers went through to ensure that they understood every aspect of how we walk. They were able to use ultrasound imaging to see the way that our legs exert energy and the way that our muscles work. The researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and North Carolina State University have worked hard over the past 8 years to develop this great tool and to understand the science of human walking.
The purpose for the unpowered ankle exoskeleton is to help people cut back on the amount of energy that is expended while walking. It has been revealed that this unpowered ankle exoskeleton actually saves approximately 7 percent of the energy that would normally be expended while walking.
The Future of Walking
When looking at the future of human walking, there are both powered and unpowered ankle exoskeletons. The powered ones aim to provide an extra energy source to the person so that they don’t have to expended their own energy in order to walk. However, the powered ankle exoskeleton is very expensive and would not be as convenient for people to use.
The advantage of the unpowered ankle exoskeleton which can be seen at Human Origins is that it enables people to walk normally while saving energy that would otherwise be used up. Since it does not require an extra power source, it is also much cheaper than its electric model. It’s very possible that this product will be very popular on the market in the near future.
The way that the unpowered ankle exoskeleton functions is through a clutch that is compressed and released on the bottom of the foot as the person is walking. The clutch is able to take over the effort that the calf was previously making in its stead. The way that we understand human biomechanics has been and continues to improve by leaps and bounds as our technology improves with it.