Interesting Patents | Tuesday, February 28, 2023
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants hundreds of new patents every week, showcasing developments in technology and innovation. In our Interesting Patents series, we highlight exciting US patent applications and patents recently issued by the USPTO. The patent system enables the protection of innovative ideas, and newly published patent applications provide a glimpse into the future of technology and innovation.
In this edition of #InterestingPatents, we look at Boston Dynamics’ new patent for a brace system that includes a parallel action mechanism designed to support joints.
The brace system can provide additional support to the joint while it moves within the brace, and with the help of an actuator and sensors, it has the potential to revolutionize physical work and enhance mobility and physical therapy for individuals with disabilities. Exoskeletons could bring a brighter and more inclusive future by providing a way to support joints and limbs, opening up new possibilities for human mobility and creating a more equitable and inclusive world.
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Brace System for Supporting Joints With Parallel Action Mechanism
ASSIGNEE: BOSTON DYNAMICS
US PAT. NO. US,11590013,B1
Boston Dynamics was recently granted a patent for a brace system that includes a parallel action mechanism explicitly developed for supporting joints. The brace is composed of an upper portion and a lower portion that are joined by a hinge assembly. A pulley mechanism is also incorporated into the hinge assembly, allowing the upper and lower portions to move independently.
This brace system can provide additional support to the joint while it moves within the brace. To achieve this, an actuator can be used to apply torque to the system, generating motion of the lower portion with respect to the upper portion of the brace. Furthermore, the actuator can be paired with sensors on the brace to analyze the position of the joint within the brace and determine how best to support it. Based on the determined position of the joint, the actuator can be configured to apply torque to the brace to support the joint effectively.
Although this brace system may appear to be just a brace, it has the potential to revolutionize physical work and enhance mobility and physical therapy for individuals with disabilities. Exoskeletons have long been regarded as a significant advance in the way we perform physical work. With the advancement of technology and innovation, we can expect exoskeletons to become more affordable and accessible to the general public in the near future.
This widespread adoption of exoskeletons could bring a brighter and more inclusive future. By providing a way to support joints and limbs, individuals with disabilities can engage in activities that were once impossible. Exoskeletons have the potential to change the way we work, move, and recover from injuries, opening up new possibilities for human mobility and creating a more equitable and inclusive world.
The present disclosure provides a brace system including an upper portion and a lower portion. The brace system may also include a first pulley rotatably coupling the upper portion to a first intermediate link positioned between the upper portion and the lower portion. The brace system may also include a second pulley rotatably coupling the first intermediate link to a second intermediate link positioned between the upper portion and the lower portion. The brace system may also include a third pulley rotatably coupling the second intermediate link to the lower portion. Further, the brace system may include at least one tension-bearing element substantially encircling each of the first pulley, the second pulley, and the third pulley.
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