Way To Make Walking Easier

Findings from the Oregon Health & Science University describe a novel way to reduce the energy people spend to walk, as much as by half, which could have applications for therapy received by patients with impaired walking abilities. This research shows that a strategically-timed pull from a waist belt connected to a pulley can help an individual use less energy for each step while walking. Explains researcher Philippe Malcolm, “When we walk, there is a short period between steps where one foot is stopping its forward motion while the other is preparing to accelerate to take the next step forward. Our research shows that this brief window where both feet are on the ground is the best time to apply force to assist walking most efficiently.” The device works by providing timed pulls from a motorised pulley while an individual walks on a treadmill. Since it only requires wearing a waist belt, it is relatively easy to make individualised adjustments compared to more complicated devices.

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