Forget Exoskeletons – I Ones That Walk by Themselves, Then I Want to Put My Feet In Them

Not long ago I was talking to someone about walking shoes, and how they made all the difference in the world whether you were hiking, walking for exercise, or wanted to break into his stride and do a little jogging. That got me thinking about exoskeletons. They say that you can strap on these special exoskeleton legs and can walk further with a larger load without getting tired. That’s a good thing, and there’s obviously lots of uses for things like this; military or human forklifts in a warehouse.

Those are good applications, no one can doubt that. They might also be used to help rescue workers pick up giant boulders and debris after large scale earthquakes to get to the victims or survivors. So, if we are talking about traveling a long distance using some sort of exoskeleton system, all we really need to do is make sure the system that we are using can walk itself. Rather than building a vertical system along the outside of a human being as an exoskeleton, why don’t we build something more horizontal?

What I am envisioning is a new system on some sort of parallel tracks where the user puts their feet into shoes and those shoes move along the parallel tracks and as long as the user is on a somewhat flat surface and goes in a straight line within reason, except for turning, the system itself would just keep on walking, and all the user would have to do is maintain their balance, something that humans do very well being carbon based upright walking bipedal primates. It is something that is genetically easy for them to do.

In searching around the various patents for self-motivating exoskeletons, I haven’t seen anything like this, but it would be simpler and cheaper to build. In fact, an A-Frame system attaching at the waist and down to the full-length of the stride whether walking or running could serve this purpose. The trick here is to get the human to travel distances such as a marathon without getting tired, and achieving it at near Kenyan Olympic marathon runner speeds.

Could something like this be built? I believe so. Our robotic engineers have come up with incredible designs and strategies that serve all sorts of applications when it comes to exoskeletons. This is just a matter of changing the strategy slightly, and only minor modifications of the substructure systems. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

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