Exoskeletons show promise as an assistive device for those who face a temporary or permanent disability.

Unfortunately, their utility is limited due to their bulkiness, which makes them cumbersome to wear.

The research into a cutting-edge exoskeleton was spearheaded by Steve Collins, associate professor of biomechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon, and Stuart Diller from Carnegie Mellon s department of mechanical engineering.

The pair created a lightweight component called an electro-adhesive clutch mechanism that forms part of an exoskeleton and weighs only 26 grams.

As its name implies, the electro-adhesive clutch is comprised of several thin electrode sheets that are coated with a dielectric material and held together by electrostatic adhesion.

These clutches can be aligned to other clutches in a parallel arrangement to form a strip that functions almost like a tendon.

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