Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and North Carolina State universities have come up with an unpowered boots that reduces the metabolic energy spent on walking by approximately 7 percent.
Boots help people with limited lower body strength to get back a more natural way of walking. It reflects the function of the walker's calf muscle and Achilles tendon, saving energy.
AdvertisementThe mechanical clutch in the boots puts tension on the spring when the foot is touching the ground but leaves it loose when the foot lifts and swings forward through the air.
The clutch takes over the effort of the calf, producing force without consuming any energy and thereby reducing the overall metabolic rate.
Dr Steven Collins, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon, said, "We're hopeful that designs that use similar techniques can help people who have had a stroke walk more easily. We're still a little ways away from doing that, but we certainly plan to try."
The researchers developed a carbon-fiber design that is ultra-light. The boots weighs one pound per leg and is natural to wear.