An Ultra-Light Weight Pneumatic Exoskeleton
Floor Location : M 209 N
I have always been interested in researching inventions and innovations that help disabled and handicapped people walk again. There have been many technological advancements such as stem cells and Exo-skeletons that help soldiers in the military to be stronger and more powerful (University of California, Berkeley) . A November 2014 article about an Exo-skeletal suit that helps people with Spinal cord injuries walk again (Ekso-Bionics), inspired this project. I built an Ultra-Lightweight Exo-skeletal Suit that will help the elderly walk with ease, assist with human locomotion and increase strength and range of motion. My objective was to build a suit on one leg using sensors and artificial muscles that contract and aid with plantar flexion and knee flexion. My suit uses Artificial Pneumatic muscles that aid with the movement of the major muscle groups in the lower extremities, when the pneumatic muscles are filled with pressurized air, the girth of the muscle increases radially and the length shortens, thus making it contract just like the muscles in the human body. My muscles are strapped on to the body using neoprene and heavy-duty nylon. These wearable machines can assist lifting and locomotion. The added benefit of the Pneumatic Soft Exoskeleton is its weight and flexibility. By making the system lightweight and soft, its appearance is less obtrusive and less of a burden to fit to the body. Components of the system are readily available, relatively affordable and highly customizable. The complete system weighs approximately 6.5 pounds (3kg). In conclusion, the results from my model showed that in fact it was possible to build a suit containing pneumatic muscles.