The results are roughly the equivalent of taking off a 10-pound backpack and are equivalent to savings from exoskeletons that use electrically-powered devices.The device is the result of eight years of patient and incremental work, mapped out on a whiteboard by Steve Collins and Greg Sawicki when they were graduate students together at the University of Michigan in 2007."Walking is more complicated than you might think.

Everyone knows how to walk but you do not actually know how you walk," said Collins, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon in a paper that appeared in the journal Nature.For the innovation, the team performed careful analyses of the biomechanics of human walking and then designing a simple, ultra-light-weight device that relieved the calf muscle of its efforts when it was not doing any productive work.The calf muscle exerts energy not only when propelling the body forward, but also when it performs a clutch-like action, holding the Achilles tendon taut.

A mechanical clutch engages when the foot is on the ground and disengages when the foot is in the air, to avoid interfering with toe clearance.This clutch takes over the effort of the calf, producing force without using consuming any energy and thereby reducing the overall metabolic rate.

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