Vanderbilt University Exoskeleton Is Better than NASA’s?

Monday, November 12th 2012. | Medical, Robot

A few weeks ago, NASA introduced its exoskeleton which is designated to prevent muscle atrophy which is prevalent among astronauts who spend considerable amount of time in space. Looking to compete with the biggest space agency’s invention, Vanderbilt University Exoskeleton was unveiled recently and rumors say it’s practically better.

Vanderbilt University Exoskeleton

While NASA’s exoskeleton is used to help astronauts who originally can walk just like normal people do, the Vanderbilt University Exoskeleton has particular mechanics that makes it capable of empowering those with motoric deficiency so that they can enjoy walking. Still, crutches are required to help stable the wearer’s movement.

Obviously, this gizmo is huge. In fact, it covers the area from users’ torso down to their feet. Electric motors are installed on its hip and knee joints. They are controlled by computer which only users can activate. Once activated, users only need to tilt their upper body forward or backward, and the device will do its task. Tilt forward and it will move your legs to the front. Tilt backward and you will be led to a sitting position.

Compared to existing exoskeletons on the market, Vanderbilt University Exoskeleton seems much lighter as it only weighs 12.25kg. Furthermore, while typical devices completely exclude any intervention from users, this one still allows the wearers to have a little more control to its movement. This makes it more suitable for therapy equipment as it may slowly but sure help wearers regain their physical fitness.

Last but not least, the device s claimed to be able to provide functional electrical stimulation. Theoretically, this feature should be capable of reviving those living with paraplegia. Expect the commercial version to hit the market in 2014.

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