Want a Personal Best? Try Robotic Running Shorts

Exosuit cuts an average marathon time from a 9:14 minute mile to an 8:49 minute mile.

I’m no runner, but I do have a daughter who does track and many friends who knock themselves out trying to beat their personal best times to no avail.

The secret to that 8-minute mile might just be new robotic running shorts developed by a team of engineers at the Wyss Institute and Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, according to an article on Digital Trends. As explained in the piece, the exosuit (admittedly ugly, but of made of soft material) applies forces to the hip joint through thin, flexible wires, which push the muscle to elongate every stride. The wires also reduce the metabolic cost of running by as much as 5.4%, the researchers claim. Specifically, the team found the shorts cut an average marathon time from 9:14 minute miles to 8:49 minute miles, which is nothing to sneeze at in my book.

While the design is in need of a bit more refinement, the researchers see their solution helping recreational athletes improve their performance and more significantly, helping people get back in the game after an injury. For now, the system is set up to work on a treadmill, which admittedly limits its utility as a true marathon aid.

Maybe they’ll eventually come up with a exosuit that might actually help me complete a mile run.