At Harvard University, a team of scientists and engineers developed an exosuit that uses ultrasound to measure muscle activity. The capacity allows a fast calibration of the suit for the needs of the users. The soft portable device continuously helps when walking or running, reducing the energy required to perform these tasks, which could be very useful for patients with neurological problems or muscular dystrophy. By directly measuring muscle dynamics, the suit provides specific assistance for the activity and the user, making these portable technologies one step closer to the good result.
The “exosuits” that can be worn have significant potential to help people with mobility issues by providing extra power when the user walks or runs. Medgadget has they introduced these technologies in the past. However, nowadays, it is not easy to calibrate an exosuit to optimize it for a particular user or for different activities in which a single user could participate. For example, the mechanics of running and walking are quite different and uneven terrain can drastically change the requirements of exotraje.
Currently, it is common for hours of adjustment to be required until before an exosuit is prepared for the needs of a particular user performing a specific task. This is laborious and impractical, and a barrier to wider adoption of this technology. In response to this, Harvard researchers designed an exotraje that can directly measure the muscular activity of its wearer while performing a specific task and then allows a quick customization of the suit to meet the needs of the user.
“We used ultrasound to look under the skin and directly measured what the user’s muscles were doing during various walking tasks,” Richard Nuckols, one of the developers of the new exosuit technology, said in a Harvard press release . “Our muscles and tendons comply, which means there isn’t necessarily a direct map between the movement of the limbs and that of the underlying muscles that drive their movement.”
The new system consists of a portable ultrasound system that is tied to a user’s leg, showing the underlying muscle activity. “Based on these pre-recorded images, we estimated the assist force to be applied in parallel with the calf muscles to compensate for the additional work they need to perform during the impulse cycle of the calf cycle. walking, ”said Krithika Swaminathan, another researcher involved in the study.
After a couple of seconds of walking, the suit can accurately assess muscle activity. “By measuring muscle directly, we can work more intuitively with the person using the exotrage,” said Sangjun Lee, another researcher who was involved in creating the device. “With this approach, the exosuit does not dominate the wearer, but is working cooperatively with them.”
Watch a video on the technology below.
Study a Robotic Science: Individualization of exosuit attendance based on muscle dynamics measured during versatile gait