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EmTech Asia 2016 Talk & Commentary – Homayoon Kazerooni – SuitX

Hamayoon Kazerooni at EmTech Asia 2016

The MIT Technology Review has uploaded a presentation of Dr. Homayoon Kazerooni from EmTech Asia 2016 titled New Developments on Lower Extremity Exoskeleton Systems.  Dr. Kazerooni is practically a legend in the world of wearable exoskeletons.  He is a professor at UC Berkeley, California, and has been involved with SuitX (US Bionics), Berkeley Bionics and Ekso Bionics.

Dr. Kazerooni’s presentation is the second attempt on completing his TEDx Kalamata 2015 talk.  What happened in 2015?  Well you have to hear it from the professor himself:

Key points that stand out:

Iron Man: From Aliens to Edge of Tomorrow, wearable robotics has captured the attention of Hollywood but not its imagination.  In movies, exoskeletons are constantly being portrayed as machines of war, and Dr. Kazerooni outlines how in his opinion this misses the point.  Exoskeleton technology can be applied to so many more things.  From getting the disabled and elderly up and moving to assisting industrial and logistics operations by keeping workers safe.

Use the technology that is available now: It is easy to daydream about best possible materials and components, but people need solutions now.  What can be made using currently available materials and technology?  Dr. Kazerooni challenges his students and employees to use as many off-the-shelf components as they can.

Exoskeletons still behave like robots: Robotic devices are strongest when they are task specific, contained to a specific area and kept away from people.  Now compare that to a powered full body exoskeleton which violates all of the three principles.  Many older exoskeleton projects had ambiguous goals (example: give super strength).  They were also envisioned to be able to operate anywhere and to be attached to the entire human body.

Dr. Kazerooni is bringing exoskeleton technology more towards the middle.  The new Phoenix and MAX by Suit X are all very task specific.  They are designed for walking assistance for people suffering from a specific set of ailments or to help employees at warehouses or construction sites.  Furthermore, all SuitX products are modular.  The user only connects to the modules that they need, rather than being forced into a full body suit.  Thus, this new generation of exoskeletons are more task specific, have a clearer definition of where they are going to be used and have limited and customizable interaction points with the user.

The above are only a selection of points that jumped out from Dr. Kazeroooni’s talk.  We encourage you to watch the entire talk on EmTech Asia 2016 YouTube channel.

About EmTech:

EmTech is the annual global emerging technologies conference hosted by MIT Technology Review.  The mission of the MIT Technology Review, as listed on their website, is to equip its audiences with the intelligence to understand a world shaped by technology.  The MIT Technology Review traces its origins back to 1899.  Originally it was focused on technologies that directly impacted MIT university, but it has since gone through several transformations and it is now a printed magazine and a website that focuses on all new technologies and their commercialization.

Dr. Homayoon Kazerooni

As stated above, Dr. Kazerooni is practically a legend in the exoskeleton industry.  He has more than 30 years of mechanical engineering experience and a doctorate degree from MIT, he is a leading expert in robotics, control sciences, exoskeletons, human-machine systems and augmentation, bioengineering, mechatronics design, intelligent assist devices, and power and propulsion. (source: UC Berkeley)

Dr. Kazerooni is one of the two keynote presenters at the April WearRAcon17.  Don’t miss this chance to meet him and dozens of other leaders in the exoskeleton industry.  Visit the Wearable Robotics Association website for more information.  You can find the full schedule of the conference here.

Source: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6n094Fe290

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