facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Wearable exoskeleton may help paraplegics

Oct. 15, 2012 at 4:34 PM   |   Comments

PENSACOLA, Fla., Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Research that yielded a NASA robot may someday help astronauts stay healthier in space and assist paraplegics walk here on Earth, the space agency said.

In a spinoff derived from NASA's Robonaut 2 program that provided a robot assistant on the International Space Station, researchers have developed a robotic exoskeleton a human could wear over his or her body either to assist or inhibit movement in leg joints.

In the inhibit mode, the 57-pound robotic device dubbed X1 would be used as an in-space exercise machine for astronauts to supply resistance against leg movement.

The same technology could be used in reverse on the ground, potentially helping some individuals walk for the first time, NASA said.

"What's extraordinary about space technology and our work with projects like Robonaut are the unexpected possibilities space tech spinoffs may have right here on Earth," Michael Gazarik, director of NASA's Space Technology Program, said.

Worn over the legs with a harness that reaches up the back and around the shoulders, X1 has four motorized joints at the hips and the knees and six passive joints that allow for sidestepping, turning and pointing, and flexing a foot.

"It's exciting to see a NASA-developed technology that might one day help people with serious ambulatory needs begin to walk again, or even walk for the first time," Gazarik said.

The X1 is a joint project between NASA, The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition of Pensacola and Oceaneering Space Systems of Houston.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
2
Physicists teleport photon over 15 miles Physicists teleport photon over 15 miles
3
Major palm oil companies to halt deforestation Major palm oil companies to halt deforestation
4
Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV
5
Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback