Panasonic has developed the Power Assist Suit (Model Y), a power exoskeleton designed for personnel serving the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Paralympics and World Powerlifting Championships - WPPO.
Watching sports competitions, one might think that only athletes perform physical efforts. However, in fact, a huge physical work falls on the share of the attendants, who have to drag literally tons of iron from place to place during the competition in the form of discs for barbells, kettlebells and other bulky and heavy sports equipment.
For example, one of the must-have exercises specifically designed for athletes with lower limb disabilities is the bench press for 10 weight categories. Taking into account the fact that athletes do several approaches, increasing the weight of the barbell, one loader during the competition can have up to 8650 kg.
The Model Y exoskeleton will simplify and greatly facilitate their work. It was first tested during the World Powerlifting Championships in Japan in 2012 and 2018.
The Model Y is shaped like an inverted Y. The exoskeleton is made of carbon composites and is worn over the chest and thighs. It features a power supply, two independently controlled 10 kg electric motors - and sensors that track the user's movements and synchronize the motors to support and resist destructive loads.
The device operates in three automatic modes:
- Assist - helps the user to straighten out of an inclined position;
- Walk - puts electric motors in standby mode when the operator moves from place to place;
- Brake - supports the lower back when lowering a heavy load.
In addition to sporting events, the Model Y can be used in airports and industrial facilities.