I want one!


When you read about robotics and human assistance devices, the inception-to-commercial-reality arrow usually points from military or space-based research back to civilian applications, say in the health industry. Infrared ear thermometers? Thank stars. Artificial hearts? Rocket-engine turbo-pumps. Scratch-resistent lenses? Astronaut helmet visors.

But with X1, a robotic augmentation riff on NASA’s space-faring Robonaut, it sounds like technology that was originally designed to help paraplegics walk could be used by NASA to make astronauts stronger as well as maintain fitness during lengthy space sorties.

(MORE: Take Kinect, Add Robotics, Strap to a Human and Presto — Automatic Building Mapper!)

According to NASA’s Johnson Space Center:

X1 was initially designed as a human assist device to allow persons with paraplegia to walk again. Strategically designed motors allow for high torque applications such as stair climbing, while multiple points of adjustment allow for a wide range of users. We…

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