Active Exoskeletons are typically motorized structures, powered by batteries or cells that can use an electric, pneumatic, hydraulic, or any other type of actuator. They can be classified as Active Assistive Exoskeletons or Enhancement Exoskeletons.
We often see Active Assistive Exoskeletons in the healthcare sector, such as in patient rehabilitation and physiotherapy. The purpose of these devices is to alleviate the physical burden of a specific task, reducing the percentage of force the user typically needs to perform it. This enables the user, for example, to walk.
Enhancement Exoskeletons are the ones that often conjure images of a “Transformer.” Their function is geared towards improving the user’s physical endurance and increasing strength. They enable users to walk for extended periods and lift heavy loads, tasks that would be challenging without the assistance of this equipment.
Active Exoskeletons can be fully autonomous or controlled through a connection to a computer and actuation systems (electric, pneumatic, hydraulic, or other).