Stanford ankle exoskeleton can make you run faster and longer

Posted on Friday, March 27 2020 @ 11:00 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Researchers from Stanford's Biomechatronics Laboratory, as well as international partners, have developed an ankle exoskeleton that significantly reduces the energy cost of running. The study, which was funded by Nike and the National Science Foundation, experimented with motor-powered assistance and spring-based assistance.

The exoskeleton is basically a motorized device that attaches around the ankle and foot. Via motor-powered assistance it was possible to reduce the energy cost by 15 percent. The reduced energy cost helped runners to increase their speed by 10 percent and the researchers believe this could be even higher if runners have additional time for training or optimization.
“Powered assistance took off a lot of the energy burden of the calf muscles. It was very springy and very bouncy compared to normal running,” said Delaney Miller, a graduate student at Stanford who is working on these exoskeletons and also helping test the devices. “Speaking from experience, that feels really good. When the device is providing that assistance, you feel like you could run forever.”
The spring-based assistance on the other hand was not successful, it made running 11 percent harder than running exoskeleton-free. The researchers predict devices like this could be used as a mode of last-mile transportation or to help you keep up with friends that run faster. Full details at Stanford.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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