Could a "wearable robot" one day help paraplegics and disabled people walk in the same way shortsighted people simply put on a pair of glasses to correct their vision? That is the hope of one Chinese company which is designing exoskeletons that people can wear.
A commercial exoskeleton robot, Fourier X1, was recently independently developed by Chinese manufacturing company Fourier Intelligence and released in Shanghai. The promotional material for the robot, which includes a video released online, shows the robot mainly being used for patients with lower body paralysis.
The company says the "wearable robot" can help a person sit, stand, walk, and go up or down the stairs etc.
The robot is also meant to be able to "perceive" the changes in a person's posture and "think about" their intentions, with the help of 19 different sensors and 11 distributed CPU modules.
The company has also stressed the safety aspects of the device, stating that if the person's center of gravity deviates beyond the pre-set range, the robot will shut down automatically, give an alarm, and take other security measures. The person will then be kept in a fixed state , without falling down after the robot stops.
Fourier Intelligence boasts that a person wearing the exoskeleton can walk continuously for about 7 hours before needing to recharge the device.