Soft Exo-Suit Boosts Strength Without Motors
Ashley Allen / 2 years ago
Artificial exoskeletons and exo-suits have been shown to increase the strength, speed, and endurance of humans, usually with the help of tough frames, motors, and electronics. Now, researchers at the Hiroshima University in Japan have developed a soft-body exo-suit that can boost upper body strength in the wearer, without mechanics.
The SEnS (Sensorimotor Enhancing Suit) is constructed from a fabric mesh that mimics the structure of human muscle tissue. An understanding as to how the human body handles heavy loads means the suit can help maximise muscle pull while reducing the amount of voluntary muscle function necessary to lift a heavy item.
The prototype SEnS fits over a single arm – the right arm, since it’s the most common dextrous limb – is lightweight, and allows a vast range of movement. Because it is not motorised, nor has a strong frame, it will never be able to cope with huge loads, but could reduce the exertion level of workers lifting and carrying normal loads, resulting in greater efficiency, increased frequency, and reduction of lift-related injury.