|Metabolic rate can be reduced while running because of the device that is created by a team of Iranian biomedical engineers. / Photo by: Getty Images|
Devices have been created to enhance and improve human functions, whether that be in the form of a gadget that can protect against injuries in sports, or eyewear that can improve brain wave activity. The possibilities are endless. Recently, a team of Iranian biomedical engineers have created an unpowered exoskeleton that has the ability to reduce metabolic rate while the user is running. Running is now one aspect of basic human functionality that can be improved with external devices. This particular device can essentially make the user run longer and more efficiently, as they can retain stamina and energy at a better rate than without this device.
Exoskeletons on the market still have difficulty dealing with the metabolic rate of runners, even when they are powered. More than 15 years ago, researchers from Ekso Bionics, one of the pioneers in the field of robot-assisted walking, faced a difficult challenge in this field. They had a challenging time finding the right robot that was both light and durable enough to wear, but would have enough technology to be able to increase metabolic endurance. This particular problem is a testament to the natural efficiency of the human body. While there a great number of unpowered exoskeletons exist, this particular one reduces the metabolic rate of a runner by eight percent. This might not seem like much, but this could spell the difference between your maximum running distance and a few meters more. This works by recycling motion from the runner’s ‘scissor kick.’ As Rezvan Nasiri, the lead researcher on this project, stated, “The reciprocal motion of the body recycles that energy, thereby allowing us to create an unpowered exoskeleton. No external battery is required, making the device lightweight and unobtrusive.”
This new device is still in its early stages, but it shows promise, with its passive increase in overall running efficiency without the need of batteries or motors.