Several years ago, the Washington Post had an article titled This remarkable new exoskeleton slips on like a boot and makes your walking more efficient.
Engineers at Carnegie Mellon University created this unpowered, effort-reducing ankle exoskeleton. The walking-assist clutch engages a spring in parallel with the Achilles tendon when the foot is on the ground, offloading the calf muscles and making walking easier. (Lisa Lau and Steve Collins/Carnegie Mellon University)
The latest exoskeleton technology doesn't need an outside power source to boost your strength. It harnesses the power of your own muscles to put a spring in your step instead. And soon baby boomers could be using it to keep hiking and jogging just a few years longer.
As of the end of 2015, this device reduced the energy required for a healthy person to walk on a flat surface by 7%. See the line under the picture at Greg Sawicki on Successfully Reducing Walking Metabolic Cost. If you choose to watch the video, which is heavy on the physics and engineering of the device, it is only the last six minutes or so that discuss the benefits for healthy people; the first 35 minutes or so discuss the benefits for stroke victims.
How much has work progressed on this or similar devices since 2015? Is there any projection as to when ordinary consumers might be able to order a pair at a cost commensurate with other high-end sporting-goods items, e.g., a pair of high performance skis? Has any TGO user tried one in the lab or in the field?
Footnote: Note that exoskeletons are in development for the army and to aid paralyzed people to walk, but, important and life-changing as these developments are, this is not what this question is about. See, for example this story in the Washington Post about a woman paralyzed from the waist down who is walking the Appalachian Trail with an exoskeleton costing tens of thousands of dollars.