Swiss researchers have developed software and a robot that can measure your energy expenditure when you walk. Their research will improve exoskeletons but may also be useful for athletes or manufacturers of humanoid robots.
Tell me how you walk, I'll tell you how many calories you burn: this is the idea behind the latest invention of researchers at the Federal Polytechnic University of Lausanne. They created a software linked to an avatar, a virtual character modeled in a small robot, which calculates the energy expenditure of a person when walking. The research, published on the journal's website Nature, will be presented as part of a thesis this Friday, August 24.
Integrate walk parameters
The human is naturally economical: instinctively, the man chooses the type of walking pace that makes him spend the least energy. Scientists have looked at eight walking parameters, such as stride length, step height and speed to develop their software.
The created avatar has two legs and two feet, then just enter the computer size and weight and adjust the settings to get the energy expenditure by walking. We can add mass to some places, such as a backpack, choose the inclination of the ground, etc. All these settings give this software an interest in both the medical world but also in the world of sport.
Initially, the researchers, including Salman Faraji, the main co-author of this study, wanted to improve the march of humanoid robots by understanding the march of human beings from a mechanical point of view. But their results will also make it possible to manufacture more efficient exoskeletons by placing batteries and other tools better in order to improve the user's experience by reducing his effort.
It may also help to know how to position a load, such as a backpack, to avoid unnecessary energy expenditure. "Conversely, if the goal is to spend calories, it would be a matter of determining a sequence of movements. at energy cost, "adds Amy Wu, one of the co-authors. Even if there is still work to the researchers to finish developing their tool, they already propose to test their application online.