I am quite sure that many of us are pumped up about Pacific Rim in the movie theaters this summer, as those are super huge exoskeletons that register right at the top of the “wow” scale – at least for me. Having said that, most of us were introduced to the concept of an exoskeleton at the movies when Ripley took on the Queen Alien in the hangar, while wearing one of those crane-like things. Since then, we have heard of powered exoskeletons left and right, where it has been a decent help to augment the abilities of able-bodied users as well as to rehabilitate the disabled. The thing is, these hard-bodied contraptions are not all that comfortable, which is why researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute intend to deliver what they call a “soft exosuit” for the future
This soft exosuit will feature sensors on the wearer’s lower back, hip, calf and ankle, and such sensors help detect user-initiated movements. In response, the system will selectively pump air into integrated bladders within the suit, offering support without compromising on the boost to the user’s own muscle power. This soft exosuit is made mainly from “specially designed fabrics,” and has been touted to be a whole lot lighter compared to a hard exoskeleton. Do you think it will catch on?