Future Tech: Plus...a machine that makes water out of thin air & a robot friend for senior citizens.
Harvard scientists create exosuit that powers legs
Harvard Wyss Institute researchers have been working on a soft exosuit with DARPA's financial help for years. While they were able to present a proof of concept in 2016, it's only now that they've found out just how much the suit can actually help its wearer. According to a new study published in Science Robotics, Harvard's exosuit reduces the energy a user needs to exert while walking by 23 percent. It does that by providing assistive force to the ankle at the perfect moment when you take another step.
Team leader Conor Walsh said that's the highest percentage of reduction in energy use observed with an exosuit: "In a test group of seven healthy wearers, we clearly saw that the more assistance provided to the ankle joints, the more energy the wearers could save with a maximum reduction of almost 23% compared to walking with the exosuit powered-off. To our knowledge, this is the highest relative reduction in energy expenditure observed to date with a tethered exoskeleton or exosuit."
This amazing invention creates water from the air
From Popular Mechanics:
Approximately one in ten people on the planet don't have access to clean water. Infrastructure issues affecting clean water have crept into the United States in Flint, Michigan, and concerns about water sources have become white-hot debate points surrounding oil pipelines. Fortunately, an engineer in Chile named Hector Pino has developed a system that could provide significant relief—a device that produces water by absorbing the humidity in the ambient air.
The FreshWater machine can work with AC power, its own battery, or solar energy. It pulls water vapor out of the air to form artificial clouds, which "rain" down clean water to be collected, mimicking the natural water cycle. In San Pedro de Atacama, an arid mountain town in northwestern Chile, a FreshWater device produced almost two and a half gallons of water in a day. It's a limited amount, but if the technology can be improved and scaled, it could provide relief to remote communities.
Is this the beginning of robot caregivers for the elderly?
From The New York Times:
Welcoming a robot into her family was never Maxine Duncan’s idea of a support aide in her older years. But this winter, she and her partner, Herbert Yarbrough, signed up to test a telepresence robot in their retirement community, the Heritage Downtown, in Walnut Creek, Calif. Their new pal has a screen for a head and scuttles around on wheels. The lure was being able to connect more easily with their families via video calls.
The couple were immediately smitten. They have named the robot Jimmy. “It’s an easy name to remember,” said Ms. Duncan, 86, a former real estate broker. And Mr. Yarbrough, 89, takes the robot on the elevator to pick up breakfast downstairs.
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