In February, scientists at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom announced that they are working on a technology that is not quite an exoskeleton but robotic pants. With built-in artificial muscles, the soft robotic clothing is designed to give the disabled or elderly extra strength and balance.
Researchers at CMU and North Carolina State University are now aiming their exoskeleton - named the walking assist clutch - at people without disabilities. However, Collins said they could eventually apply similar techniques to people with disabilities.
"Someday soon, we may have simple, lightweight and relatively inexpensive exoskeletons to help us get around -- especially if we've been slowed down by injury or aging," he said. "We're a couple of years away right now. The advancements needed are relatively modest. It's more about making it more form-fitting and adding a little control."
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