Oct 13, 2012 6:04 AM GMT
New NASA Robot Could Help Paraplegics Walk
X1 is a ten degree of freedom robotic exoskeleton designed and built as a collaboration between the NASA Johnson Space Center and the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC). Developed using Robonaut technology, X1 was initially designed as a human assist device to allow persons with paraplegia to walk again. Strategically designed motors allow for high torque applications such as stair climbing, while multiple points of adjustment allow for a wide range of users. We are now exploring space applications for exoskeletons, such as amplifying astronaut strength, or even as exercise devices for long duration missions.
Worn over the legs with a harness that reaches up the back and around the shoulders, X1 has 10 degrees of freedom, four joints at the hips and the knees, and six joints that allow for sidestepping, turning and pointing and flexing the foot.
Like other exoskeletons on the market, the potential of X1 extends to other applications such as rehabilitation, gait modification and offloading large amounts of weight from the wearer. Preliminary studies by IHMC have shown the X1 to be more comfortable and easier to adjust and put on than their previous exoskeletons. And with development plans already in the works to add more active joints to areas such as the ankle and hip, the possibilities are endless.