Robotic short promises to improve performance in the race (or even on the battlefield)
For some time the professional scenario of the race has worked closely with technology companies to gain microseconds of the performance of the most outstanding athletes of the category. While much of this effort is focused on more aerodynamic and sweat-suiting suits or sneakers with the perfect footprint for each type of foot, Harvard engineers have decided to take another route to deal with this challenge: a robotic short that can eliminate minutes – Yes, minutes! – of a marathon.
The design of these American researchers, in fact, is much larger than that, since the technological garment should be part, in the future, of a much more robust exosuit. This does not, however, prevent shorts from being used to strengthen the stride and strengthen the leg and waist muscles of the aisle. With mechanical help, it is possible to simultaneously add strength to the exercise and reduce the athlete’s energy expenditure by about 5.4%.
An interesting point raised in the project documentation is that some tests and prototypes have shown that, at least when the goal is to achieve better performance or efficiency, simulating or expanding the way the human body works is not enough. Proof of this is that by changing the moment when the impact of the strides is applied to the hip, scientists simply doubled the effectiveness of the wearable gadget.
Of course, an accessory such as these would hardly be accepted in the professional environment, since it is a much more active aid than that of traditional clothing and equipment. Also, it is worth mentioning that all the operation of this exosuit depends on a source of energy nothing practical for long walks: an electric cable. The initiative is currently supported by DARPA and other companies, which indicates that its end use can be both recreational and on the battlefield. And you, would you use a toy like that?
Sources: ENGADGET/JESSICA CONDITT
Images: MEN’S FITNESS