Soft, comfy exosuit helps stroke patients walk


A carefully designed robotic ankle forms the centrepiece of this new walking aid.



A new soft, lightweight exosuit built by Harvard researchers reduces the amount of energy needed to walk by more than 20%.

It could help those with limited mobility, such as stroke patients or those with Parkinson’s disease and cerebral palsy.

In a paper published in Science Robotics, Brendan Quinlivan and his team unveiled their prototype, which applies force on the wearer’s ankle joint.

This force travels upwards to the hips through the suit straps, pushing the wearer forward with a natural stride.

This efficient design meant there was no need for motors at the hips. Being made of stretchy spandex, the exosuit was comfortable and lightweight.

And when tested on seven healthy male participants, the wearers’ energy consumption dropped by up to 23% when walking on a treadmill.

To see the suit in action and for more information, check out the video above.

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Vishnu Varma R Vejayan is a physics student from Queen Mary University of London with an interest in scientific writing and research in physics. He interned at Cosmos in early 2017.
  1. http://robotics.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/scirobotics.aah4416
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