Machine Design
The Softer Side of Exoskeletons

The Softer Side of Exoskeletons

Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University are developing a soft exoskeleton for the military. Their goal is to assist soldiers in walking farther while staving off exhaustion and injuries. The suit should also work on about 90% of U.S. Army soldiers --male and female. The exosuit could have applications for disabled civilians as well.

The suit mimics the natural movement of the body.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) program, known as Warrior Web, is looking to use closed-loop controlled actuators with pulley and cables to reduce injuries and increase the user’s lifting ability. The program is focusing on a comfortable, soft exosuit that can be worn under clothing on the soft tissues that connect and interact with the skeletal system. The makers of the new suit say that it will achieve this while consuming no more than 100 watts. 

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