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NASA Space Science Technology

New NASA Robot Could Help Paraplegics Walk 30

Posted by samzenpus
from the on-your-own-two-feet dept.
coondoggie writes "NASA said today it has helped develop a 57-lb robotic exoskeleton that a person could wear over his or her body either to assist or inhibit movement in leg joints. The X1 was derived from the NASA and General Motors Robonaut 2 project and the could find applications as an in-space exercise machine to supply resistance against leg movement more importantly as a way to help some individuals walk for the first time."
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New NASA Robot Could Help Paraplegics Walk

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  • Great Example (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2012 @08:09AM (#41629393)

    This is why we need research groups like NASA. This is why we need manned space flight. The spinoffs from the tech help all mankind.

  • by charon69 (458608) on Friday October 12, 2012 @08:30AM (#41629511)

    I hate to be a pessimist, but it's my understanding that there's no real technological hurdle that needs overcoming in terms of getting a strength-assist exoskeleton.

    Sure, some fine tuning. You know, making sure that it doesn't break the user's bones and all that. But nothing too technically complicated.

    It gets slightly more complicated if you're wanting a pure machine-brain interface rather than it being controlled through some other arrangement. But we've seen stuff like this already. The brain adapts well to new stimuli, and I'm sure somebody will get all the kinks worked out of that at some point not too far away.

    The problem, as far as I'm aware, is with the power source. Battery technology has been stuck at roughly the same point for decades now. The weight to power-concentration ratio just isn't there.

    So unless this story is actually about Nasa figuring out coke-bottle-sized cold fusion, then (unfortunately) go read this post's subject line.

One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word. -- Robert Heinlein