Science News

New Exoskeleton Makes Walking 7 Percent More Efficient, Study Says

During the long period of evolution, humans have evolved and they are constructed for walking and running. However the scientist work on improving the life of modern humans.

North Carolina State University published their research in the journal Nature today, saying that a newly designed exoskeleton can improve the efficiency of walking by 7 percent.

The exoskeleton is a lightweight device that enhances and works together with the user’s calf muscles, off-loading the muscle and therefore reducing the energy consumption during the contractions. It uses a mechanical clutch to hold a spring that stretches and relaxes by the ankle movements thus aiding the Achilles tendon and calf muscles.

It doesn’t consume electrical nor chemical energy and it reduces the metabolic cost of walking by 7.2 ± 2.6% for healthy users under natural conditions. It weighs a little more than a pound and most users got accustomed to it after just 20 minutes of use.

The device is still under early stages of development and it doesn’t work for running, but it is a big step towards improving walking conditions and efficiency of walking, whether for a hiker, old people or someone who needs a boost in efficiency to save their energy. While strong laws of nature have already shaped human locomotion, there is still much to learn and there is still room for improvements in efficiency.

In an unrelated study, researchers claim that physical activity may enhance longevity and reduce the risk of mortality. Even small amounts of vigorous activity can help and reduce your risk of early death.

What are your thoughts on this new exoskeleton which increases the efficiency of walking?

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