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Medicine Robotics Hardware Technology

Vanderbilt University Steps Into the Exoskeleton Market 26

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
Zothecula writes "For people who are unable to walk under their own power, exoskeletons offer what is perhaps the next-best thing. The devices not only let their users stand, but they also move their legs for them, allowing them to walk. While groups such as Berkeley Bionics, NASA, Rex Bionics, and ReWalk are all working on systems, Nashville's Vanderbilt University has just announced the development of its own exoskeleton. It is claimed to offer some important advantages over its competitors."
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Vanderbilt University Steps Into the Exoskeleton Market

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  • I maintain my claim that Bubblegum Crisis predicted the future best of all cyberpunk works.
  • by Andy Prough (2730467) on Friday November 02, 2012 @03:33AM (#41850727)
    It enhances leg muscle strength by stimulating the muscles into contracting and relaxing while the paralyzed person uses it to walk. As the legs get stronger, the exoskeleton does less of the work. I'll bet that 10 years from now, almost all paralyzed people in developed countries will be using these types of devices to get around.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @03:48AM (#41850765)

      I bet that in 50 years, almost all fat, lazy, Americans will be using these types of devices to get around.

      • Like the immensely fat Baron Vladimir Harkonnen floating around on his suspensors in Dune? http://dune.wikia.com/wiki/Vladimir_Harkonnen [wikia.com]. Nah - in fact, many Americans are completely obsessed with exercise.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hubang (692671)
        As an American, I once saw a profound vision of the future [wikipedia.org], which shows how the Americans of the future will truly get around.

        I want my hoverchair, darn-it!
      • Some moronic little shit always loves to ridicule the disabled, usually by calling them fat or lazy!

        I would love to get one of these exoskeletons to use instead of my scooter.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Some moronic little shit always loves to ridicule the disabled, usually by calling them fat or lazy!

          I would love to get one of these exoskeletons to use instead of my scooter.

          I think people are generally ridiculing fat, lazy people with nothing wrong with them that a change in diet and some light exercise wouldn't cure. People who are not disabled using mobility scooters do no favours to the genuinely disabled at all.

    • Amazing times we live in. The paralyzed can walk! While the price is high now, one this "segway with legs" will be commonplace and available to the masses. Kudos to all the people involved in this excellent work!
    • by Type44Q (1233630)

      all paralyzed people in developed countries

      Judging by the state of things, I'm guessing that will include... maybe parts of Switzerland. :p

    • by gr8_phk (621180)
      How does it stimulate the muscles to contract? I had realized it's probably great physical therapy, causing far more movement than anything else. I would also think if there is any chance of the nerves repairing themselves this kind of real-world use would help with that too.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    is a "University stepping into a Market", and this is becoming more and more common these days.

    With more academic man-hour work managed and directed by the profit oriented mentality, academic research that yields applicable results more than 10 yrs after its discovery will slowly migrate somewhere else. Every body wants to be the next "Mark Zuckerberg" of their field.

    • How long till you graduate and have to get a job?

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        How long till you graduate and have to get a job?

        What's that got to do with it? I am an adult and have to work like everyody else, that doesn't mean I think everything in life can be reduced to a monetary transaction. Without research the world is doomed, and not all research can be measured by the number of dollars it generates in the short or even medium term.

  • Interesting, as I suspect that at least part of the development of robotics, for the coming years, may be in the exoskeleton field. Exoskeletons may be very useful, and not only for paralyzed people: they can provide extra power for astronauts, soldiers on the battlefield they could provide - when nimble enough - with both extra power and armour, etc. etc.

    Sad, as I have seen here in Europe what happens when universities "step into the market": dramatic reductions in quality, both of teaching and research, are quite often the consequence. Neo-liberalism is still driving us into places where we, actually, are loath to go.

    • by gazita123 (589586)

      Interesting, as I suspect that at least part of the development of robotics, for the coming years, may be in the exoskeleton field.

      Yep, when you encapsulate the human into the robot, it is much easier to take over.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    What is the overlap in groups of people who need this and people who can afford this?
    • People said that about their Urban Combat Jetpack and one man tank.

      In unrelated news Cornelius Vanderbilt VI, Jr has changed his name to Bruce Wayne and hardly ever seems to appear in Hello magazine anymore. And when he does he has unexplained bruises and sounds like he's been chain smoking asbestos. So I'd say at least one. Hell, I'd say exactly one.

  • by hackula (2596247) on Friday November 02, 2012 @08:44AM (#41851813)
    GUNDAM STYLE!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      GUNDAM STYLE!

      Is this any better than Gangnam Style [youtube.com]?

      I can hear it now:

      Exo Gundam style!
      Ex - Ex - Ex - Ex - Ex
      Exo Gundam style!
      Heeeeyyyyyy, exo-lady!

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