A Walking Model With No Energy Cost- Walker Aid Prosthetic Limb Design Or Challenge Segway?

in technology, medicine

Want to buy a gallon of milk from the Deli in your neighborhood market? Don’t look for the car, just take the Ruina-Gomes walker!  A new study published in Physical Review  reported a model that can walk on level ground with zero energy input.

It is quite an intriguing model which might aid in future designs of prosthetic limbs.  If it becomes practical it may have potential to challenge single person transport aids like Segway.  The study was published by Drs  MW Gomes and A Ruina of Cornell University Mechanics Department.   The model got more publicity and prominence when a review of the report was published the professional journal Nature. 

According to Nature,” the torso-rocking walker has the most energy-efficient gait of any yet discovered. The model's antics (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO), described in a paper accepted for publication in Physical Review E may act as an inspiration to roboticists whose state-of-the-art walkers require tens of kilowatts to move, or to researchers designing prosthetic limbs or hoping to understand human and animal locomotion”.

Nature adds: But the computer-generated walker's methods won't be put into practice any time soon. For a start, Ruina and Gomes's simplified two-dimensional model, designed with two rigid legs and a rigid torso connected by springs, has no friction in its joints. And perhaps more importantly, it can move its swinging leg through the ground as it walks, an abstraction made necessary by its lack of knees. Using those idealizations, Ruina and Gomes found a mathematical solution that described a gait that would not lose any energy when the walker's feet touched the ground and began to take on weight from the other leg. "It's like a wheel that would roll forever," says Ruina. "It's a crazy-looking thing."

 Original Article: A walking model with no energy cost
Nature Revew: Nature.com

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