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Exoskeleton boot makes for more efficient walking

exoskeleton boot

Walking on a trail becomes a bit easier with a pair of unpowered exoskeleton boots.

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Some boots are made for walking, and some are made for walking more efficiently.

Scientists have developed an unpowered exoskeleton "boot" that reduces the amount of energy spent while walking by about 7 percent. The boot has a passive clutch that activates a spring in parallel with the Achilles tendon when the foot is on the ground. That offloads the effort of the calf muscles, making walking easier, researchers report April 1 in Nature.

Seven percent doesn't seem like much of an energy savings. But humans have been walking for a long time, and finding that a slight energy savings is still possible suggests there's still much more to learn about walking, the team says.

Animals

Songbird crosses the Atlantic in a nonstop flight

By Helen Thompson 7:05pm, March 31, 2015
Using light-sensing geolocators, researchers confirm an iconic songbird’s impressive transoceanic migration.
Microbes,, Health

Some superbugs lurk in Britain’s surf

By Helen Thompson 7:30am, March 31, 2015
In Great Britain’s coastal waters, surfers and swimmers are exposed to low levels of drug-resistant E. coli, a new study finds.
Health

Performance gains from Tommy John surgery still up for debate

By Nathan Seppa 9:00am, March 30, 2015
Major league baseball pitchers who undergo two Tommy John surgeries have shorter careers than peers who don’t have the surgery, a new study finds.
Science & Society,, Microbes,, Health

White House unveils strategy against antibiotic resistance

By Nathan Seppa 5:09pm, March 27, 2015
The Obama Administration has launched a long-term plan to curb antibiotic resistance, unveiling incentives and requirements designed to boost surveillance and diagnosis of resistant microbes.
Animals,, Conservation

Panda stalking reveals panda hangouts

By Helen Thompson 2:00pm, March 27, 2015
Scientists used GPS trackers to learn about the giant panda lifestyle.
Evolution,, Animals

Bright bird plumage resulted from natural, sexual selection

By Bethany Brookshire 2:00pm, March 27, 2015
Darwin hypothesized that bird color differences resulted from sexual selection. Wallace disagreed. A study shows that both were right after all.
Animals

For bats, simple traffic patterns limit collisions

By Kate Baggaley 6:34pm, March 26, 2015
Humans aren’t the only ones who follow traffic rules. Bats do it too, researchers report.
Planetary Science,, Astronomy

NASA has a plan for putting rock from asteroid in moon’s orbit

By Christopher Crockett 5:46pm, March 25, 2015
NASA selects concept for its Asteroid Redirect Mission, which will let astronauts train for future missions to Mars.
Science & Society,, Numbers

John Nash, Louis Nirenberg share math’s Abel Prize

By Lila Guterman 4:53pm, March 25, 2015
John Nash and Louis Nirenberg will receive the 2015 ‘Nobel of mathematics’ for their work on partial differential equations.
Quantum Physics

One photon wrangles 3,000 atoms into quantum entanglement

By Andrew Grant 2:00pm, March 25, 2015
A single photon can trigger the creation of quantum entanglement between thousands of atoms.
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