Computational creativity and the future of AI

Exoskeleton

A diagram of the experimental orthotic device

We've recently been hearing a lot about how exoskeletons can be used in rehabilitation, guiding patients' disabled limbs through a normal range of motion in order to develop muscle memory. The problem is, most exoskeletons are rigid, limiting their degrees of freedom to less than those of the body part they're moving. A team of scientists are looking at changing that, with a partial "soft exoskeleton" that replicates the body's own muscles, tendons and ligaments.  Read More

A rendering of Prosthesis the Anti-Robot – ready to race (Image: Anti-Robot)

Who wouldn't want to slip into Iron Man's armor or try out the gigantic Jaegers that saved the world in the movie Pacific Rim? Wearable exoskeletons currently being built, from the military-based TALOS, XOS 2 and HULC to rehabilitative models like the ReWalk, MindWalker and X1, all have one thing in common; they are all robotic automated body suits designed to enhance or assist people. Is there a place for a skill-oriented, non-robotic walking exoskeleton, that a person would have to master physically by feel, much like how one might master riding a bicycle or using a skateboard? Jonathan Tippet thinks so. He and his team of volunteers are building Prosthesis, claimed to be the world's first human-piloted racing robot. It's a 5-meter (16-ft) tall behemoth that will rely entirely on the pilot's skill to balance itself or walk or run.  Read More

'ReWalker' Gene Laureano crosses the finish line at the Generosity NYC 5K

Released two years ago, the ReWalk powered exoskeleton allows wheelchair users to walk upright again – albeit with the additional help of a pair of crutches. This past Sunday (Nov. 17), a group of ReWalk users from around the world got together in New York City, where they used their exoskeletons to take part in a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) charity walk.  Read More

Gizmag's Mike Hanlon trying out the ARM-1

Osaka-based Kubota Corporation has built a robust brand for its agricultural machinery over the last three decades, and hence it was no surprise to see the company showing an unpowered exoskeleton at the International Robotics Exhibition.  Read More

The winner of the 2013 Dyson Award competition, the Titan Arm

A US team from the University of Pennsylvania has taken out the 2013 James Dyson Award with the Titan Arm, an upper body exoskeleton that augments human strength. The team will receive the £30,000 (US$48,260) first prize, with an additional £10,000 (US$16,100) going to the University Of Pennsylvania Engineering department. Competing against 650 international entries, which were whittled down to 20 finalists, the Titan Arm shared the limelight with two runners up, who will each take home £10,000.  Read More

Cyberdyne's new industrial cleaning robot

Better known for producing the advanced exoskeletons, Japan's Cyberdyne is expanding its portfolio with a new industrial cleaning robot for large factories and warehouses. The latest model employs a Sony Playstation controller which is used to direct the cleaner around its designated cleaning areas, then it remembers its areas of responsibility and can do the job on its own from that point.  Read More

Not the TALOS combat suit (Photo: HarshLight)

The US Navy's top SEAL, four-star Admiral William McRaven, is pushing hard for a modern suit of armor called the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS). Though not exactly an Iron Man suit, it's that ballpark. As a result, a Broad Agency Announcement has now been issued seeking proposals and research in support of the design, construction, and testing of TALOS, with a basic version hopefully seeing service within three years.  Read More

Gear teeth of a juvenile Issus coleaptratus (Photo: University of Cambridge)

Among the mechanical components not found in nature is the spur gear. That is, until now. Zoologists of the University of Cambridge have discovered that the juvenile form of the leaf-hopper Issus coleoptratus has a set of gear-like linkages between the two jumping legs to synchronize the legs during a jump.  Read More

A school girl wearing Sagawa Electronics' Power Jacket MK3 stands above a grown man

In recent years Japan has erected life-sized statues of giant robots like Tetsujin-28 go (Gigantor) and a Gundam mobile suit, but statues can't defend the island nation from kaiju attack. Perhaps that is why Sagawa Electronics is bridging the gap between fantasy and reality with a working robotic exoskeleton it calls the Power Jacket MK3 that mimics your every move. And it says it will produce up to five of them for about US$123,000 apiece.  Read More

The prototype soft exosuit in action

Powered exoskeletons show great promise both for augmenting the abilities of able-bodied users, and for rehabilitating the disabled. That said, they also tend to be hard-bodied contraptions that don’t look particularly comfortable (or light) to wear. Researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute recently demonstrated what they hope will be a more user-friendly alternative – a “soft exosuit.”  Read More

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