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Xpost: the Springwalker machine

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  • Xpost: the Springwalker machine

    Dear Biomch-L readers,

    The following item was seen on Usenet today:


    Article 2839 in comp.robotics:
    From: (Steven J. Edwards)
    Subject: The Springwalker machine
    Date: 10 Sep 92 16:09:45 GMT
    Sender: (Usenet News Manager)
    Distribution: comp
    Organization: Bull HN, Worldwide Information Systems, Billerica, Mass., USA

    Yesterday (1992.09.09) I saw a brief piece on CNN about a rather
    interesting new apparatus that provides mechanical assistance for
    human locomotion. Called the "Springwalker", the machine consists of
    a metal frame worn on the user's back with springs and pulleys that
    connect to a part of articulated "legs". The two mechanical legs are
    driven by the user's legs and form the only contact with the ground.
    Invented by a physicist, the newly patented device promises to allow
    walking speeds of from ten to fifteen meters per second (20-30 MPH).
    The idea is that springs connected to the machine legs absorb and
    store recoil energy instead of having it be dissipated as heat.

    It was interesting to watch. The springs and pulleys were a bit noisy,
    however. Perhaps the biggest problems were the apparent need for
    assistance in mounting and unmounting the machine.

    The inventor was hoping for mass production of the devices to bring
    the per unit cost down to US $ 1500 or so.

    This definitely looks like something that experimental roboticists
    should look at as an alternative to wheel or track based locomotion.

    [The above opinions expressed are my own; not necessarily held by others.]
    == Steven J. Edwards Bull HN Information Systems Inc. ==
    == (508) 294-3484 300 Concord Road MS 820A ==
    == Billerica, MA 01821 USA ==
    "That Government which Governs the Least, Governs Best." -- Thomas Jefferson