NASA To Build X1 Robot Exoskeleton.
The X1 robot exoskeleton is being designed to help astronauts walk in space and, according to the space agency, could be extremely beneficial here on Earth by helping paraplegics to walk.
NASA says that the 57 LB device is to be worn over the body to “assist or inhibit movement in leg joints.” The inhibit mode will allow the X1 to provide resistance to leg movements in the zero gravity environment found in space enabling the unit to be used as an exercise device however, with this particular machine the opposite could also be possible allowing the unit to assist leg movements for some disabled people.
A spokesman from NASA quotes…
“NASA is examining the potential for X1 as an exercise device to improve crew health both aboard the space station and during future long-duration missions to an asteroid or Mars, without taking up valuable space or weight during missions, X1 could replicate common crew exercises, which are vital to keeping astronauts healthy in microgravity.”
Michael Gazarik, director of NASA’s Space Technology Program added…
“Robotics is playing a key role aboard the International Space Station and will continue to be critical as we move toward human exploration of deep space, what’s extraordinary about space technology and our work with projects like Robonaut are the unexpected possibilities space tech spinoffs may have right here on Earth. It’s exciting to see a NASA-developed technology that might one day help people with serious ambulatory needs begin to walk again, or even walk for the first time. That’s the sort of return on investment NASA is proud to give back to America and the world.”
NASA has developed the unit in collaboration with the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition and engineers from Oceaneering Space Systems.