The researchers at Japan’s Tsukuba University seem to be particularly active when it comes to enhancing human body functions. This is the institution where the famous robot suit HAL-5 was developed and now we have another invention that can help boost the efficiency of our bodies – if that’s what we want and need, that is.
A research team at said university has constructed a “motorized knee”, which is actually a kit that – once it’s attached to a person’s body – supports the flexing of the knee. As a result, the runner may use 30% less of the muscle power that is needed to run unassisted. In experiments, runners could jog at 7.5km per hour wearing the kit, which is about 5kg heavy. So in other words, this isn’t an elegant solution (yet).
The kit consists of a motorized device that needs to be attached and a control unit that needs to be carried in a backpack. According to the researchers their motorized knee isn’t designed for the physically handicapped but is supposed to support people that want to run in a more efficient way.
The kit is expected to be commercialized within the next three years. The research team says it’s significantly smaller and lighter than similar devices that are already on the market (all of which are designed to help physically handicapped walk).
Via Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]