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NASA's Inventing In Style with Awesome Robot Pants

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You already have NASA to thank in part for everyday, Earthly wonders like memory foam and water filters, but a new one is coming to the list: powered exoskeletons.

The Xi Robotic Exoskeletion is a device—and in some ways almost a vehicle—currently in development by NASA and the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Weighing in at 57 pounds, the motorized pants aim to someday offer extra resistance to astronauts in space, who can suffer from muscle atrophy from extended bouts of weightlessness, as well as parapalegics here at home.

The suit has four motorized joints located at the hips and knees, as well as six passive joints up and down the leg which allow for extra freedom of motion so you aren't just locked into walking forward like, well, a robot. A lot of the groundwork for this tech comes from the Robonaut 2, who's already serving on the ISS.


The X1 is still in development, with plans to add even more joints for bonus mobility. Even so, the current models are looking pretty promising. Here's to hoping development continues to go well because really, who wouldn't want to try on a pair of these? [NASA via Technabob]