A wearable exoskeleton device attached to the foot and ankle can reduce the energy expended in walking by around 7%.
The device acts in parallel with the user’s calf muscles, off-loading muscle force and thus reducing the metabolic energy consumed in contractions.
It uses a mechanical clutch to hold a spring as it is stretched and relaxed by ankle movements when the foot is on the ground, helping to fulfil one function of the calf muscles and Achilles tendon.
The exoskeleton consumes no chemical or electrical energy.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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