Robotic Suit Aids Astronauts and Paraplegic PatientsTechnology Monday, October 15th, 2012
(TechNewsDaily) It’s a superhero suit for Earth and outer space. NASA and other research groups have made a wearable robotic suit, called X1, to live a double life of usefulness. Up in space, the suit would act as an exercise machine for astronauts, providing extra leg resistance for space travelers. On Earth, the suit can be tuned to lighter settings and support paralyzed people in standing and walking.
“It’s the exact same suit,” said Nic Radford, the former project manager for NASA’s so-called exoskeleton research who now leads NASA’s research into humanoid robots. The X1 is an example of the myriad uses that are coming out of NASA’s Robonaut project, which sent a robot helper to the International Space Station last year, he said.
The X1, which incorporates many Robonaut technologies, straps onto wearers’ shoulders with a harness and supports wearers’ legs with separate shells. The shells have 10 joints, including four motorized joints for the hips and knees and six nonmotorized joints that allow wearers to step side to side, turn and flex their feet.
Image: Robert Markowitz