Exoskeletons were a hit at CES 2019, especially for Panasonic subsidiary Atoun who presented two exoskeletons. One of which helps people lift objects, while the other gives users a little extra boost in their ability to walk.
Model Y, shaped like an upside-down Y, is worn like a backpack that straps to the user’s chest and thighs. This exoskeleton assists in bending and stretching of the waist, and uses two electric motors. It provides 22 lb. of support to the user’s waist when they have to lift or carry a heavy object.
Additionally, Model Y has three modes in which it switches between automatically. These include Assist mode, Walk mode, and Brake mode. The Assist mode provides support when the user proceeds to stand up straight after bending to pick up an object. The Walk mode turns the motors off when the user is carrying something, and the Brake mode kicks into gear when the person is setting down an object. This provides support to the waist as the user leans forward to set down the object. Featured in the following video is Model Y at work.
Also featured at CES was Atoun’s HIMICO exoskeleton. The walk-assisted Powered Wear prototype is said to provide assistance of up to 19 percent in hill walking, about 18 percent in climbing stairs, and approximately 31 percent in walking on rough terrain. It also uses an assist control method to adapt to each individual and accounts for a user’s variables such as walking posture and habits. The company hopes to reduce the size and weight of the current prototype before it starts testing the product in the market. The following video provides an overview of Atoun’s current prototype.