Narrator: This is Science Today. A mechanical exoskeleton developed at the University of California Berkeley may help lighten the loads of soldiers, firefighters and rescue workers. The exoskeleton was developed in the lab of Berkeley engineering professor Homayoon Kazerooni and was designed to reduce fatigue in soldiers or other workers required to carry heavy loads.
Kazerooni: The entire machine and its payload all together is about 170 pounds. And roughly 100 pounds of it is the machine itself and the other 70 pounds is the load that it's carrying. But with this system, that 70 pounds of backpack that you are carrying would be felt by the machine only and not the operator.
Narrator: The current prototype, consists of a gas-powered pair of mechanical legs attached to a backpack, and uses a sophisticated computer control system to follow the motions of the human pilot.
Kazerooni: The machine is perfectly capable of walking with a normal speed, going up and down the stairs, turn, we can squat a little bit. In general, the machine is able to follow all voluntary human motion.
For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.