Whether they're playing sports or suffering from joint injuries, some people could definitely benefit from using a wearable assistive device. Exoskeletons are certainly one option, although if it's just the knee that needs a boost, then a whole rig isn't really necessary. That's where Levitation comes in. It's a spring-loaded knee brace that augments the user's quadriceps, helping to move their lower leg back forward after every step.
Created by Canadian startup Spring Loaded Technology, the (mostly) carbon fiber brace features a hinge that mechanically stores energy when the wearer bends their knee. As they subsequently straighten it back out, that energy is released, helping the leg muscles to move the calf into place for the next step. No motors or batteries are involved.
Both the power return level and the range of motion can be tweaked by the user, in order to best suit the application. Possible users include athletes who want to increase their performance and endurance, or people with conditions such as knee injuries or osteoarthritis. To that end, two models of the brace are being manufactured – the A Series for athletes, and the M Series for medical use.
It's also worth noting that like conventional braces, Levitation reportedly takes much of the load off of knee joints, and provides lateral support. The device should be about the same weight as most other braces.
Plans call for Levitation to be commercially available "shortly," priced in the neighbourhood of US$2,000. It can be seen in action, in the video below.
Source: Spring Loaded Technology