Researchers from Aalborg University are involved in an international project to develop portable robot skeletons for the elderly so they can continue to be active longer. Think of it as a tool, not as a robot, says researcher.
The world’s population is aging. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2050 there will be more than two billion people over age 60. And the older we get, the weaker our bodies become. So an international team of researchers and companies are working to develop an exoskeleton for senior citizens so they can remain active for longer.
“Many older people are mentally fit and want to continue to be active, but their physical abilities are steadily deteriorating,” explains Shaoping Bai, Associate Professor at the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Aalborg University. This is an attempt to complement the strengths of older people so they can continue to be mobile and live independently for a longer time
Designed specifically for tasks that require heavy lifting, such as commerce or nursing
Researchers from the Tokyo University of Science in Japan are now developing a light exoskeleton concept that can carry items as heavy as 40 kilograms with little to no difficulty. Created by professor Hiroshi Kobayashiand his team of experts, the exoskeleton is affixed to the hips and shoulders by straps and a padded waistband, while its A-shaped frame is equipped with four pneumatic artificial muscles (lightweight rubber blades encased in mesh) that contract when pressurized air is pumped in and can exert up to 30 kilograms of instant support for extra strenuous tasks. The frame is specially designed to augment the functions of the arms and back specifically in tasks that require heavy lifting, such as commerce or nursing.