Researchers at Stanford University have invented an exoskeleton boot to help people with mobility impairments walk and run more quickly. The device uses a Rasberry Pi computer, along with multiple sensors, a motor, and a motor driver to assist users in moving about without being tethered.
According to the Raspberry Pi website, the new mobility aid offers several advantages over options available today. Rather than being an expensive, tethered, cumbersome whole-body apparatus, this device is worn like a boot and can be used independently of another machine. Furthermore, since the Raspberry Pi computer can run multiple threads of code simultaneously, it can process more complex movements while learning the uniqueness of human body movements.
When first using the exoskeleton, users only need to walk around for an hour for the computer to learn their movement patterns. Using sensor data, the Raspberry Pi can optimize real-time control and deliver benefits within 15 minutes of use. The Raspberry Pi website reports that users walk about nine percent faster and expend 17 percent less energy using the device. Researchers claim it’s the equivalent of “taking off a 30-pound backpack.”
The device has enormous potential not only for people with chronic disabilities but also for elderly people as they begin experiencing mobility decline later in life. Researcher Patrick Slade told The MagPi, “It will allow people to lead more active, independent, and meaningful lives.”
More information about the new mobility exoskeleton is available at Nature.com.
Source: Raspberry Pi News