Californian company Berkeley Bionics, which some of you may remember for their Human Universal Load Carrier exoskeleton or "HULC", has now unveiled their second exoskeleton called eLEGS. Unlike the HULC which is aimed at increasing the strength and endurance of soldiers, their eLEGS system is aimed at allowing paralysed patients to stand up and walk again.
The system consists of a pair of metal legs that attach to the outside of a patient's legs using velcro strips, a backpack containing a battery pack, and two crutches which help the patient to balance and simultaneously act as the exoskeleton's control system. At 45 lbs or roughly 20 kg the complete system is comparably light-weight.
Nevertheless, Berkeley Bionics' website lists an autonomy of over 6 hours under "nominal usage in a rehabilitation setting". The company is currently preparing its eLEGS system for clinical testing and will open enrollment for a medically-supervised eLEGS gait training program in the second half of 2011.
More at [urlhttp://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19555-exoskeleton-helps-the-paralysed-walk-again.html]NewScientist[/url]