Although there are now a number of powered exoskeletons designed for use by specific groups, there are few if any aimed at the general public. Hong Kong-based Advanced Robotics Technology will change that, with its Sportsmate 5.
The device takes the form of an exoskeleton of the lower body that is worn around the waist and around both thighs. An airbag on the inside of its waist is electrically inflated for a comfortable, snug fit. Putting it on is supposed to take about a minute.
Once Sportsmate 5 is available, it can be used in one of two ways.
If its users want a little motorized assistance while hiking (for example), they will press a button to select Assist mode. The sensors in the exoskeleton then detect user-initiated step movements and respond immediately by activating one of the device’s two motors to pull the relevant leg up and push it. forward. An AI-based algorithm continues to learn the user’s gait, to help keep things running smoothly – that said, the motors still won’t try to move the foot if the user hasn’t stepped forward.
The setup provides up to 18 Nm (13.3 ft lb) of torque in this mode.
On the other hand, if the user wants to work out more while exercising, they choose Resistance mode. Similar motors that previously provided increased force will now produce up to 10 Nm (7.4 ft lb) of resistance torque, helping the wearer to work harder to move their legs. Depending on the type of exercise being performed, the user can alternately choose between resistance stretching and resistance bending.
The truss is made of materials like carbon fiber reinforced plastic and aerospace aluminum alloy, and is said to weigh in at 2.5 kg (5.5 lb). Runtime is said to be around three hours per charge in Assist mode, with help from an energy recovery system that uses a 3,000 mAh/22.2V lithium battery.
If you’re interested, Sportsmate 5 is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. Assuming it goes into production, you’ll get a commitment of $899 – expected retail price of $1,517.
It is demonstrated in the video below.
The world’s first consumer exoskeleton | SPORTS5
Source: Kickstarter, Advanced Robots