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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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Simplifying the Big Questions

One of the best and the worst things about human life is that it functions in the unknown. This vagueness about what’s in store has always been unsettling, and not for just any reason. If there is something humans love more than anything else, it’s having control, and the idea of unknown takes that control away in the most abrupt fashion. Hence, we are always looking to find ways through which we can enhance our grip on a situation, and consequentially, on every possible outcome that can emerge from it. Nevertheless, while we do it, the very idea of unknown turns into our advantage. To put some more light on it, as individuals, we have a knack of surprising ourselves and the world, so not having a fixed image of what all we can do leaves the space for us to create a whole new reality. On one such occasion, we ended up masterminding the creation of technology. Now, even though the concept was revolutionary in every imaginable sense, no one really expected it to take over the world like it did. So far, there have been a ton of takes on how technology should have paced its push for dominance, with some experts claiming that it went about everything a bit too aggressively, but that wasn’t quite the case. Instead, technology’s bid to go big has proven to be fairly calculative. By focusing on satisfying different needs in an inventive manner, the creation has become a mainstay across industries that hail from literally all over the spectrum. An integral part of this pack is the medical sector. As our perception of the healthcare field becomes more and more influenced by the tech-driven dynamics, we are now looking towards solving some highly complicated medical questions. An answer to one of them has just been delivered by the University of Utah.

The researching team at University of Utah has developed an exoskeleton, which is designed specifically for people with above-knee amputations. Above-knee amputations have long been viewed as challenging for reasons bigger than one would normally think. In such a procedure, many of the leg muscles are removed; therefore the remaining muscles are left to bear a higher load. The exoskeleton simplifies walking in this context with the help of a electromechanical actuator that is attached to the thigh. Once attached, the device uses artificial intelligence for learning and adapting to the user’s particular style of walking. With a walking-aid that compliments their pattern of moving, the user is no longer required to exert any extra energy.

“It’s equivalent to taking off a 26-pound backpack. That is a really big improvement,” said Tommaso Lenzi, a researcher involved in the study. “We’re very close to what an average person would expend at the same speed. The metabolic consumption is almost indistinguishable from that of an able-bodied person, depending on the fitness level.”

As per the details provided, researchers have trialed the exoskeleton on six people suffering from the said condition. The subjects were asked to do a range of activities, while the team monitored their metabolic rate, carbon dioxide levels, and oxygen intake. It was inferred from the results that exoskeleton reduced the amount of energy consumed by a sizeable 15.6 %.

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