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Sprinting to the future: Robo-shorts that help runners get ahead

The breakthrough required developing a control algorithm that used three sensors to detect with 99 per cent accuracy what the wearer was doing and respond accordingly. In a paper published in the journal Science yesterday, the team from Harvard University and the University of Nebraska Omaha wrote that the suit reduces the average energy cost of walking by 9. The exosuit was put through its paces in a variety of environments, from the treadmill to the running track to hiking up a hill, and Walsh said its battery will last for up to 10km of walking and jogging. They are working with a commercial partner called ReWalk Robotics in obtaining regulatory approval to bring a medical device to the market in the coming years, and estimate it will sell for around US$30,000 (RM125,763). So-called “soft exosuits” that use textiles to fit more naturally on the human body represent an evolution from the more restrictive “hard exosuits” of the past that are still used in therapeutic settings but can be awkward and inefficient.

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