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Four Videos of Four Passive Exoskeletons

Going Clockwise: NCState Passive Ankle, Magic Arms, FORTIS, Ekso Works Going Clockwise: NCState Passive Ankle, Magic Arms, FORTIS, Ekso Works

Passive exoskeletons have become a bit of a hot topic over the last few weeks.  Here are four videos of four different exoskeletons that have already made, or surely will make the headlines.

Unpowered Exoskeleton For Reducing Energy of Human Walking, April 2015

Devices claiming to make the natural human walking-cycle more efficient have been around for generations, usually in the form of a spring like replacement to the heel of a shoe or a boot.  What puts this exoskeleton above the rest is that the authors are quoting some really impressive efficiency numbers.  The exoskeleton uses no sensors or motors and it appears to be really easy to use.  The main source of energy conservation for this device comes from the fact that human muscles expend energy to stay “locked”, while a mechanical part can be locked into place with no further energy consumption.  For a lot more information, just click on the video above.

3D Printed “Magic Arms”, August 2012

While this video is a really a commercial for 3D printing, the generated exoskeleton is also prominently featured.  While being little more than an assembly of harnesses and rubber bands, “Magic Arms” showed the world that a small, relatively inexpensive and completely unpowered exoskeleton can fulfill a real need.  This servers as a proof of concept for task-specialized exoskeletons that can deliver real improvement in human performance without the complicated electronics.  Refer to the above video to see it in action.

FORTIS, November 2014

Lockheed Martin’s FORTIS passive exoskeleton was the first passive industrial exoskeleton to be revealed to the public.  Similar to the “Magic Arms” in the previous video, the FORTIS is designed to do a singular task: hold a heavy tool and transmit its weight down to the floor.  Initial studies show the suit to be successful, however, its creators have not posted new information for some time now.  Check out the clip to see if the FORTIS is FOR you.

Ekso Works, April 2015

Ekso Bionic’s Ekso Works is the second publicly introduced passive exoskeleton for industrial use.  Does it looks similar to Lockheed Martin’s FORTIS?  That is because both suits have the same design origin, the HULC and the MANTIS.  Ekso Works can be used to hold heavy equipment but future models, such as Ekso Logistics and Ekso Lift will specialize in different tasks.  Go to the above clip by Wired.com to see how the Ekso Works works.

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