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Until now, exoskeletons have consisted of various mechanical devices that can help a disabled person to stand or walk. Another area of use is heavy work: that a person can lift weights several times heavier than the strongest weightlifter could handle.
Robot researcher Indrek Must at the University of Tartu in Estonia wants to go further and work on a robot suit that you dress like any other overall. The garment can help a disabled person to walk, or allow everyone to run faster.
An exotextile consists of three layers: two natural textiles and a layer of cells that are electrically charged and can be activated during movement. Each cell acts independently based on a programming of what kind of movements are to be expected in a certain situation. The clothes then help the person to lift a leg or strengthen a jump.
Indrek Must says that it is about building a primitive intelligence cell by cell. The work is part of what is called soft robotics, where you use robot technology that mimics nature.
Photo: Andres Tennus