Spring in your step?

In theory, it could make you run an awful lot faster.


A spring-powered device attached to human legs could, in theory at least, boost sprinting speed by more than 50% without external energy input, according to a new study. Amanda Sutrisno and David J Braun from Vanderbilt University in the US say such a (currently hypothetic­al) device would enable the wearer to supply energy in mid-air by simultaneo­usly compressin­g and increasing the stiffness of the springs. During touchdown, the energy stored in the springs would release, redirectin­g the wearer’s vertical momentum to help propel them forward.

“Our finding uncovers the hidden potential of human performanc­e augmentati­on via unpowered robotic exoskeleto­ns,” the researcher­s write in a paper in the journal Science Advances. “Our result may lead to a new-generation of augmentati­on devices developed for sports,

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