Friday, May 27, 2011

Affordable Exoskeleton For Wheelchair Users?

Researchers from University of California at Berkeley (GO BEARS!) are working on a more affordable exoskeleton for wheelchair users. Now, these are not just any researchers. This team is headed by Prof Kazerooni. In case you do not know that name, Kazerooni is a GIANT in the exoskeleton industry having been the mastermind behind eLEGS and HULC exoskeleton. Look at what Kazerooni has to say about the new, more affordable "Austin Exoskeleton":

What distinguishes the Austin exoskeleton from the others out there is its simplicity for unsupervised in-home use and its lower cost,” said Kazerooni. “We made the conscious decision to only focus on key functions to keep the cost down. Users won’t be able to walk backward or climb ladders with the Austin exoskeleton, but what we sacrifice in capability, we gain in accessibility and affordability. Just getting people to be upright and take steps forward is already a huge advance in increasing independence.
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Watch Austin Whitney, the guy who the exoskeleton is named for, walk during his graduation ceremony at UC Berkeley:



To be sure, the Austin Exoskeleton is years away from the market. But if anyone can make it happen it is Prof Kazerooni. Read more about Prof Kazerooni's eLEGS exoskeleton.

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