Sports

Levitation brace gives users spring-loaded knees

Levitation brace gives users s...
The Levitation brace helps bend the user's knees back forward when walking or running
The Levitation brace helps bend the user's knees back forward when walking or running
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An exploded view of the Levitation knee joint
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An exploded view of the Levitation knee joint
The Levitation brace is made mainly of carbon fiber
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The Levitation brace is made mainly of carbon fiber
The Levitation brace helps bend the user's knees back forward when walking or running
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The Levitation brace helps bend the user's knees back forward when walking or running
Plans call for Levitation to be commercially available "shortly," priced in the neighbourhood of $2,000
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Plans call for Levitation to be commercially available "shortly," priced in the neighbourhood of $2,000

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.

The Levitation brace is made mainly of carbon fiber
The Levitation brace is made mainly of carbon fiber

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

Spring Loaded Knee Braces: Enhancing Strength and Mobility

5 comments
Wombat56
You had me right up until the US$2,000 part.
Reason
If they could do something similar and comfortable enough to wear all day for people with back issues they would make a fortune.
Deres
Maybe this could be used as a knee protector for skiing. Knee injuries are very frequent when skiing. As the lower part of the leg is protected by a rigid shoe, all the lateral effort coming from the long ski are felt inside the knees.
BobGarrish
Hi Deres, The brace is made to support the knee extensively without impeding range of motion, and the original application was in fact for skiing. It offers substantial lateral support. More than the walking kick-out mentioned in the article, the braces are able to be tuned up to full bodyweight support which will work as a suspension system for your legs and knees while on the slopes. Downhill bikers get full suspension, why shouldn't skiiers! -Bob Garrish CTO Spring Loaded Technology
7827
Hello Deres, During the practice of skiing, in competition or recreational, the most knee injury situation is the result of 2 movements: rotation of the femoral bone versus tibia and valgus because in certain situations the ski binding doesn’t see the torque applied to the knee joint. Please visit the following address: www.kneemax.com We are discussing with the medical FIS (international federation of ski) committee which is in charge of the approval and we hope to get it during the FIS Congress which is hold at Zurich (Switzerland) in May 2016. The cost for a pair (2 legs!) of KNEEMAX will be sold between 350-450$, junior to Worldcup. BR. Team KNEEMAX