Saturday, October 13, 2012

NASA X1 Exoskeleton keep astronauts fit and could help disabled walk

NASA’s Robonaut 2 program has spawned an exoskeleton suit that could eventually help disabled people walk again as well as allow astronauts greater flexibility when roaming distant planets. Developed by NASA and the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), the X1 Robotic Exoskeleton weighs 57-pounds and has ten joints, four of which are motorized. However, while like other exoskeletons we’ve seen, the X1 can work to augment the wearer’s movements, it can also be set to work against them.
That’s because the requirements for the Earth-bound and those out wandering through space are very different, and the X1 can cater to both. For those with limited or restricted movement, the X1 can be set to support and boost leg motions as an assistive walking device. IHMC is also looking at the potential outside of use by the disabled, such as for tackling varied terrain and extended use of stairs.
For astronauts, however, the X1 could actively work against them, providing Earth-like levels of resistance that normally wouldn’t be present in low- or zero-gravity environments. That, NASA believes, will help avoid muscle wastage, without taking up the space of traditional exercise equipment such as the International Space Station is currently equipped with.
On foreign planets, meanwhile, the exoskeleton could help astronauts clamber over arduous terrain, in addition to making it easier to walk in reduced gravity. Onboard sensors could feed back real-time telemetry of the body’s movements and the wearer’s physical condition.
Currently, only the hip and knee joints are motorized, with the remaining six being passive and allowing for side-stepping, turns, and pointing/flexing a foot to be carried out. However, future iterations of the X1 will include more active joints and thus increase the exoskeleton’s usefulness. NASA has already developed a Robo-Glove in partnership with GM, in a separate project based on Robonaut 2.
NASA warns that the X1 is still in the R&D phase, so we shouldn’t expect to see exoskeleton-clad walkers roaming the streets (or space) any time soon.


  1. Hey Lou, whether covertly or overly, does the behind the scenes space program have gravity on ships?

  2. This is not new !! I saw this on Discovery or somewhere a year ago at least !! Or maybe it was TLC.. it was a way for spinal cord injury patients to walk again.

  3. Sorry Lou I didn't mean that comment to sound snappy or like I am a know it all, I just remember seeing this on TVa while back

  4. Here it is ... I knew I had seen this before.

  5. I take it all back Lou . I missed the line in the post where it says "like other exoskeltons we have seen "

    ooooops , Let me take my foot from my mouth and go away and hide . disregard all post's from yesterday !!

  6. Yes and no on the coverts, depends on the Alien upgrade package the ships have.

  7. Hi Lou!
    Speaking of the disabled, is Billie Meyer, the one armed elderly Swiss man with all the movies and photos of ufos(in broad daylight) and space travel with the paladians legit? If he a fraud he sure is talented at it!

  8. Hi Lou!
    Speaking of disabled, is Billie Meyer, the one armed Swiss man with all the UFO pics and videos in broad daylight as well as pics from his travels through the universe with the paledians legit? If he is a fraud he sure is talented!