Exoskeleton – a technology that offers completely new possibilities
Scientists are developing new technologies to give people extraordinary strength and endurance. However, ethical questions remain open about whether such research should be conducted at all and under what circumstances to use the acquired technology.
An exoskeleton is like an external „rama”, która can be worn to improve the physical fitness of people. The technology can róalso allow crippled people to regain fitness. Thanks to the installation of the engineów electric exoskeleton could give us greater strength and endurance.
Professor Hugh Herr heads a special laboratory thatóre engaged in research on exoskeletons at the Massechusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The researchers want their design to coólf it works in harmony with the human body. In other words, they want to connect the human nervous system with the world of machines and vice versa.
For this reason, accurate data is being collected in the lab m.in. about the force needed to perform a specific action, or the modes of movement known to man. All this to design a system thatóry will help people run or walk faster or more efficiently.
As an example of the new technology’s potential, the researchers cite the case of a pianist, które caught up in arthritis. Móheadsóc finger exoskeletonów. Thanks to such a solution, from an average pianist one can become a real virtuoso of the instrument. One can imagine an exoskeleton, whichóry will bring out completely new combinations, whichóre so far could not be created due to the limitations of the human body.
Researchers mótie in this context o „crossing borders and the limitów”, whichóre imposes on us organism. Prof. Herr once expressed the hope of constructing an exoskeleton that wouldóry will allow a person to run at 30 km/h all day and not feel fatigue. The technology can also be used by e.g. nurses and waitersóin, whichówho have to stand on their feet all day.
But there are many more applications. The exoskeleton will successfully find application among theód osób paralyzed. With such a solution, they will be able to move without the help of others. Such technology is already coming into use. Exoskeletons will certainly be equipped for manual workers, such as those working on warehouses. They will be able to carry heavier weights without risk of injury e.g. spine. The army will certainly not give up on this invention. Such technology will greatly enhance the capabilities of the soldier of the future.
The exoskeletons created so far are quite large. However, scientists hope that in the future it will be possible to hide them even under clothing. Or they could become part of an outfit.
However, not everyone shares the enthusiasm of the MIT researchers. Prof. Noel Sharkey one of the coóThe founders of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics are concerned about the very idea of creating a machine thatóra would allow people to work longer. – We can imagine the use of an exoskeletonóin construction sites, for example, so that workers do not feel physically tired. However, prolonged work would be exhausting for the psyche – researcher believes.
MIT scientists predict that later this century powerful exoskeletons will be constructed thatóre people will be able to feel and control with their thoughts. Herr believes that this technology will fundamentally change the definition of human potential. Shakery stresses, however, that new technology should be followed by new ethical standards. New technology brings with it new possibilities for using humans.
– We design new systems and only then ask if they can be misused – notes Shakery.