Students Build Robotic Enhancement Suit Prototype

Prototype
The arm of the exoskeleton is designed to lift heavy objects with minimal input from users. “When further enhancing this prototype, I hope we can use even more hardy materials to make it more durable and efficient,” Mou said. 

Prototype for high-endurance exoskeleton that is designed to lift over 200 pounds

Meenu Kumaraguru

Staff Writer

    On April 24, 2016, juniors Nethen Mou, Cameron Lau, Jordan Chang, Joshua Vejendla, Karthik Puravant, Ameek Nijjar, and Sandeep Suman finished constructing the prototype of an exoskeleton designed to heighten human bodily functions, efficiency, speed, and strength.

    “The idea of creating an exoskeleton stemmed from our team’s desire to work and build something new,” Purvant (11) said. “Exoskeletons seemed like an interesting, unique challenge that have many uses in the real world. We were also intrigued by the challenge of building a cheaper exoskeletonone that delivers similar functionality to the expensive ones already in the market, but at a much lower price.”

    The device resembles the size and shape of an average human being, and major parts of the exoskeleton can be adjusted to accommodate for a variety of body types.

    “The torso section can be pulled over the head and fits comfortably, because of foam padding added for comfort and pressure,” Puravant said. “The arm and leg joints are made with similar TETRIX parts, and can be easily strapped on.”

    The exoskeleton, or the “Robotic Enhancement Suit,” retains a full metal chassis built with TETRIX materials. In addition, fluid movement is enabled through the use of multiple gearseach part being separate and allowing for easy removal and increased modification potential.

    “TETRIX is basically aluminum channels with holes,” Mou, the project head, said. “We are also using Arduino-oriented C, which is the programming software used to give the suit different functions that it can execute. The program uses simple commands that the robot can understand. Sensors give readings that trigger the motors into motion.”

    When translated to real-world operations, this creation is intended to help out with search-and-rescue missions and serve as aid to those who are disabled and require extra support for their arms or legs.

    “The suit has the potential for becoming a cheap, mass-producible alternative that can save numerous lives in the future,” Nijjar said.  

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