Robotic shorts make walking and running easier

In the race for technology, researchers unveil biomechanical shorts. Walkers, runners or soldiers, this robotic equipment could become assistance to the effort, useful to the sportsmen of any level.

Unveiled Thursday by a group of researchers, robotic shorts could become the sporting equipment to dream every walker or runner eager to improve its performance. This gear – an accessory that evokes comics of superheroes – is a reduced adaptation of the exoskeleton, a robot of assistance to the effort which takes the appearance of a sort of modern armor and which finds its fields of use in the military or medical field.

Specifically, the biomechanical short weighs five kilograms, battery around the waist included. The engine, located at the level of the kidneys, activates cables assisting the effort provided by the legs. The device detects and adapts to the pace of the walker or runner.

Battery belted around the waist, the biomechanical short adapts to the activity of the walker or the runner.  © HO, AFP

Biomechanical shorts, an accessory in the service of performance

”  Walking or running are two very different modes of travel and the already existing machines are concentrated in their design on one or the other,” explains Conor Walsh, one of the researchers of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, which depends on Harvard.

“In the end, it could allow someone in good health to improve their performance or reduce the fatigue of a soldier tramping with his equipment. I think that with this machine we take a step, to devices capable of assisting people in a variety of ways in the activities of their daily lives, “he says.