Harvard Wyss Institute researchers have been working on a soft exosuit with DARPA’s financial help for years. While they were able to present a proof of concept in 2016, it’s only now that they’ve found out just how much the suit can actually help its wearer. According to a new study published in Science Robotics, Harvard’s exosuit reduces the energy a user needs to exert while walking by 23 percent. It does that by providing assistive force to the ankle at the perfect moment when you take another step.
After further testing and development, Harvard’s exosuit could provide enough support to help the elderly and people with Parkinson’s or related conditions walk confidently again. As Engadget’s Michelle Moon points out, DARPA’s funding points to military applications, with the agency hoping the exosuit will help soldiers carry heavy supplies without causing as much strain on their bodies.