The Austin project represents a series of technologies that lead to low cost and therefore accessible exoskeleton systems for individuals with mobility disorders. This effort is called the Austin Project in honor of its first human test subject: Austin Whitney, a recent UC Berkeley Graduate.
If you would be interested in licensing or investment on the Austin Project, please email us directly at exo(at)berkeley(dot) edu.
Austin Whitney walks in 2011 commencement using Austin Exoskeleton
We have a bold mission: to explore a set of basic technologies that lead to reliable, inexpensive exoskeleton systems for everyday personal use. The notion of limiting people to wheelchairs, crutches or expensive exoskeleton systems is completely unacceptable with the existing state of technology.
“Austin project involves a series of accessible exoskeleton systems that have deliberately stripped-down clever design.” asserts Kazerooni, director of the robotics lab and a leading expert in exoskeletons, or wearable robotic devices that enhance strength and improve mobility.
“Built with many off-the-shelf parts, these exoskeleton systems have a limited range of motions. They allow users to stand, walk forward, stop and sit. We believe those few simple maneuvers will be game-changing. What is important to millions of people is to be upright, mobile and independent through accessible technology,” Kazerooni says.
These powered human exoskeletons would allow their wearers to walk upright without the strain and muscular effort required by today’s unpowered orthotic devices. We argue that these “smart exoskeletons” could replace wheelchairs for many patients for hours at a time, enabling patients who cannot now walk to regain a degree of walking mobility, and to retard the onset of a wide range of secondary disabilities associated with the long-term use of wheelchairs.