Wandercraft Atalante Exoskeleton Now With Natural Gait
The latest exoskeleton Atalante from Paris-based Wandercraft now has RealGait, a much more natural way of helping people to walk. See the newest self-balancing, streamlined version in this video:
The latest model is much smaller, more streamlined and more comfortable for patients, thanks to new hardware, tweaks in the fit and more intelligent software. It's now self balancing, so it's easier to control for both patients and physiotherapists. Although it's not yet approved to be used alone, Wandercraft showed me a video demonstrating that it can self balance, even when shoved off kilter. It also offers features that make it easier to get in and out, along with the "Wander Balance" feature that allows for easy "verticalization" to help the patient stand up.
The device automatically generates optimized and adjustable kinematics according to a each patient's morphology, with the settings allowing for custom exercises. The latest feature is "RealGait" (shown above) which allows for physiological walking with adjustable speeds. "CustomGait" allows the pace, step length and mass center to be changed, while "ActiveGait" lets the user change the assistance effort from 0 to 100 percent. That feature also includes an "EarlyGait" setting for first steps, along with the new RealGait setting.
Who among us does not recall with some nostalgia the powerloader used by Ripley in Aliens? I suggest that Wandercraft get to work on the PowerLoader gait version of the Atalante exoskeleton, and penetrate and entirely new market segment.
(Ripley's powerloader exoskeleton)
We're also quite a way from the powered suit from Heinlein's Starship Troopers:
For those who missed the excellent 1932 classic A Conquest of Two Worlds, Edmond Hamilton wrote about how scientists solved the problem of how to work in the heaviest gravity environment in the solar system. He doesn't quite get to the idea of an exoskeleton (see the medical exoskeleton described in Fritz Leiber's 1968 novel A Specter is Haunting Texas for that) but he makes a real effort to address the problem.
The greatest difficulty, Crane saw, was Jupiter's gravitation...
Earth's scientists solved the problem to some extent by devising rigid metallic clothing not unlike armor which would support the interior human structure against Jupiter's pull. Crane's men were also administered compounds devised by the biochemists for the rapid building of bone to strengthen the skeleton structure...
(Read more about Hamilton's Rigid Metallic Clothing)
Slip into these articles to see years and years of exoskeleton development: