A tech company called Hypershell has developed an exoskeleton that provides power assistance to runners, hikers, and climbers. The lightweight hip-based harness called the Hypershell Omega exoskeleton, delivers the power of a horse to charge up steep accents and across tricky terrain. Weighing only 1.8 kg, the exoskeleton can offset 30 kg of weight and achieve speeds of up to 12 mph or 20 kph and when used in “Hyper mode,” it is able to provide up to 20 times more power output than the average body employs while running or hiking.
This amazing gadget, which looks like a precursor of the Amplified Mobility Platforms used in Avatar, is powered by a rechargeable lithium battery and a specially developed motor, with an in-use range of 16 miles or 25.75 km — for those on the go, it can be folded down and fits into most backpacks, with a carrying volume of 6.5L and the weatherproof alloy frame is rated to IP54, making it rain-resistant (but, unfortunately, not submersible). The product also has a smart unit that learns how users move in various scenarios and calculate the optimal output required to assist them in traveling faster.
The Hypershell Omega can analyze nine different postures at a rate of 200 times per second and then switches between suitable modes during the activity, providing a co-pilot to help adjust the speed. This exoskeleton has potential applications for trail runners, hikers, climbers, backpackers, and travelers who want extra assistance to explore further, but it could also benefit people with limited mobility and many professionals (such as photographers and outdoor medics) who need to carry heavy gear across challenging terrain.
It indeed has a lot of benefits but some may question whether it is considered cheating in a recreational setting, a similar criticism that was leveled at e-bikes when they were first developed (and they are now widely accepted in the market). Apparently, the Hypershell exoskeleton was very well received, because it has already attracted £100k (~$124k) in funding on Kickstarter — and it is expected to retail between US$299 and US$599. It may well give Strava moderators a few headaches if speed ascent records suddenly start to tumble.
- Dimensions: 510mm (L) x 400mm (W) x 50mm (H)
- Net Weight: about 1800g with two batteries
- Power: Rechargeable and replaceable 18650 lithium batteries (charge cycle of over 800 times)
- Maximum step speed: ~20km/h (12.4mph)
- Motor-rated power: 800W
- Integrated range: about 25km (16 miles)
- Operating temperature: -10℃ to 45℃
- Weatherproof level: IP54
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