FIGURE 10. Exohiker.
FIGURE 11. Nurse’s Assistant Suit.
FIGURE 12. Honda’s Lower
Body Exoskeleton Walker.
most perfected model weighs
50 pounds and is expected to be
controlled by sensing bioelectric
signals through a wearer’s skin. The
second approach is the nurse’s assistant
device shown in Figure 11 to assist
in handling immobile patients in a
hospital. The many pneumatic hoses
will soon be hidden in a perfected
body shell in future prototypes.
Honda’s lower body Walker shown in
Figure 12 weighs in at 14. 3 pounds
and is another example of physical
assistance soon to be available to
those with partial disabilities. Powered
by a lithium-ion battery with a life of
about two hours, the user sits in a saddle and is strapped on to the assembly.
With more and
more people living
longer and industry
trying to protect workers
from injuries, this new
technology is sorely
needed. The military
is requiring better
equipment for fighting
soldiers and exoskeletons
offer one clear answer.
DARPA, the National
Institutes for Health,
and other government
agencies will continue funding
exoskeleton research for universities,
small tech businesses, and even for
experimenters like us. We can only
benefit from this explosion in interest
in robotic exoskeletons. SV
Tom Carroll can be reached at
80 SERVO 11.2009