The elderly may soon have the choice to ditch the wooden walker and opt for a more stylish and high-tech walking aid in the form of a robotic suit.
SRI Ventures, a nonprofit, independent research center, is developing Superflex, a wearable robotic suit that makes it easier for soldiers to carry heavy loads, or for the elderly or people with disabilities to perform basic tasks. The current prototype features a soft bodysuit that delivers supporting power to the legs, arms, or torso to reduce the burden of a load or compensate for the body’s shortcomings.
According to SRI Ventures President Manish Kothari, the robotic bodysuit feels more empowering and brings back the dignity and freedom to those who may be having mobility problems.
“Superflex’s goal is to remove all of those areas that cause psychological-type encumbrances and, ultimately, ‘redignify’ the individual,” Kothari said.