Exoskeletons and animals

4.StagBeetle400dpiPowered exoskeletons are computerised skeletons to wear outside our bodies. They can help us in all sorts of ways. Animals had the idea first though. In the computer science version they are robots that you wear.

Powered exoskeletons help humans do all sorts of things from helping people who have problems moving about to walk and helping nurses lift patients in and out of bed. They are used by expert doctors to do operations when they are in a different place from the patient, by rescue workers working in dangerous situations and to help astronauts exercise in space.

Skeletons outside your body

The word exoskeleton comes from animals that have a skeleton outside their body rather than inside like us. Shells are one kind of exoskeleton. Insects like beetles have exoskeletons. So do crabs, scorpions, snails and clams. Tortoises have both an internal skeleton and an exoskeleton.

Animals use exoskeletons for protection from predators and to help avoid drying out in the sun. They are also used for sensing the world, helping some animals like locusts to jump and they help others to feed.

The difference to the ones humans make is our robot exoskeletons are powered, and controlled
by computers.

Fun to do

Make a list of animals who have an exoskeleton. Draw your favourites.

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