What if medical braces weren’t just cumbersome accessories for painful injuries? Hardcore athletes know that joint braces can protect the most vulnerable mechanics of their bodies, even preventing injury altogether. Spring Loaded Technology aims to do just that with a new device called Levitation, which bills itself as the world’s first truly bionic knee brace. Levitation stores and returns energy to the knee to boost strength, reduce fatigue, and enhance performance.
The mechanical hinge is the most important part of the bionic Levitation brace. Energy is stored in the hinge itself when the knee bends, and is then released in customizable increments when the knee is straightened. By supporting motion and strength in the knee, Levitation reduces compression in the joint and increases both performance and endurance. Levitation also assists muscle function in quadriceps for a boost in strength and mobility.
Spring Loaded Technology has been working on their bionic brace for the past three years. “What we are really doing is making highly advanced exoskeleton technology, that was once inaccessible to the consumer market, readily available,” said Chris Cowper-Smith, award-winning scientist and CEO of Spring Loaded Technology. The company believes the Levitation brace will be suitable for professional athletes in any sport, particularly in high-impact activities where joints take the hit. Skiiers, for example, will be able to use the brace to focus on form and technique while on the slopes.
Beyond professional athletics, Spring Loaded Technology hopes Levitation will also become useful for individuals with knee injuries in any profession. The bionic brace can help those with specific knee injuries, or osteoarthritis sufferers with bone and joint issues more generally. As a physical therapy device, Levitation could help those with movement disabilities or injuries that require ongoing training for full recovery. Levitation is expected to cost about $2,000, which places it in the same price range as non-bionic medical knee braces.