@Tulkas: Thanks for the post! Some more details below:
Honda Motor Corporation has unveiled an exoskeleton composed of two legs and a seat which fits between the wearer's legs like a mini saddle. This novel design allows the exoskeleton to be used simply by stepping into a pair of shoes and lifting the seat into position. It is also very lightweight, only about 6.5 kg.
According to Honda a full battery charge can provide additional leg and body support for 2 hours. The device is designed for people who are capable of walking and maneuvering on their own, but who can benefit from additional leg and body support while performing tasks. The exoskeleton is still in an experimental stage and will now be tested in real-world conditions to evaluate its effectiveness.
For more information including specs check out the Honda press release, some Honda robot exoskeleton videos and BBC robot exoskeleton videos as well as the clip below.
As Tulkas mentioned a previous Honda exoskeleton version was made public earlier this year. Also see the video below:
The Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC™) is the third generation exoskeleton system from Berkeley Bionics. It incorporates the features of ExoHiker™ and ExoClimber™, exhibiting two independent characteristics:
1) It takes up to 200 pounds without impeding the wearer (Strength Augmentation)
2) It decreases its wearer's metabolic cost (Endurance Augmentation).
While the first characteristic requires little explanation, the 2nd characteristic is a compelling and a competitive advantage of HULC™ completely absent in any other exoskeleton system. During some preliminary evaluations, the oxygen consumption of the users walking at a speed of 2 MPH, was decreased by 5%~12% when using our Alpha test unit without a payload. When the users carried a load, the effect was more pronounced. The oxygen consumption of these users carrying an 81 pound approach load at a speed of 2MPH was decreased by about 15% when using the prototype HULC™.
The reduction of the wearer's metabolic cost is of paramount importance for long duration missions. This is true because excessive oxygen consumption leads to premature fatigue even if the exoskeleton supports the load. In fact, a very recent BAA from the Natick Soldier System Center requests proposals to conduct a preliminary study on solutions that lead to a reduction of oxygen consumption. HULC™, fueled by proprietary technology, will allow soldiers to march with load at lower oxygen consumption and heart rate than any exoskeleton in existence.
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