Human Augmentation Is Now a Thing With Superflex #WearableWednesday

sri_exosuits

Nonprofit SRI International has been doing innovative work in so many areas that it boggles the mind—space, biomed, energy, education, security and plenty of gov research. One of their successful research groups in robotics has become its own company bearing the name of its wearable, Superflex, as reported by TechCrunch. Think of this full body suit as the softer version of Ironman.

… that little boost is intended to be the difference that lets someone in physical therapy walk normally, or prevents a soldier getting lumbar problems from carrying 50 pounds on her back all day.

You are probably skeptical thinking this is going to morph into a supersuit, but new head Rich Mahoney insists the project is practical and for the average person.

There’s opportunity to create products that will enhance performance, maybe like for extreme sports kinds of scenarios, but there are just so many people that don’t have good options for living a normal life, in terms of their mobility and the ways they can engage with the world. There’s a preference for us to really do something worthwhile with this technology.

superflex2

This is a nice addition to the open source movement of 3D printed prosthetics and hopefully the suit will come with a price tag that actually makes it affordable for the masses. Of course I’m hopeful that the open source version of this suit will someday be available as well. What if different makerspaces could specialize in their own modules with one makerspace doing final assembly and testing? It’s a big dream, but as functionality grows and costs reduce, it may come to be. Color me optimistic. Until then, you can get started in understanding this medtech. Prosthetics and assistive robotics frequently use muscle sensing to initiate movement, and it just so happens that we have a tutorial on Getting Started with MyoWare. Find out how muscle sensors can work with your projects and get twitching!

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Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!


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1 Comment

  1. I am very skeptical about the near term future of technology like this and I was a Principal Investigator of another project on the same DARPA program.

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