Yaskawa Electric’s Ankle Exoskeleton Gives You Strength


Walking is healthy, so all of the pundits and experts say. While this simple cardiovascular activity may be essential for our inner organs, it can wreak havoc on our outer ones. Case in point? The ankle and the knee are especially susceptible to walking-related strain and injury. A whole line of “safe” shoes have entered the market to sate the demand of consumers looking for a less impactful way to walk or run. Now, there is an awesome tech-heavy exoskeleton that turns us from walkers to, uh, robotic super-walkers. We won’t be able to leap a building in a single bound but maybe we can get close.

It’s developed by Yawasaka Electric and it has the honor of being one of the first actual exoskeletons available for mass market purchase. They gave it a rather long and bland name, however. It’s called the Ankle Walking Assist Device or AWAD for short. What does it do? It’s aimed at elderly consumers and it consists of two robo-boots and a waist-mounted battery pack. With each step you make, you are given an actual strength boost to make that next one come with ease. It’s actually kind of cool and could be a progenitor of even cooler stuff to come. Huge jump/flying boots anyone?

The company hasn’t announced a price yet for the model but they have assured their investors that it will be available on store shelves by 2015. In the meantime, maybe we can just put really powerful springs in our sneakers. That ought to work!