Using a Motor-Powered Exoskeleton to Enhance Mobility/Dexterity
Ian Tse, Jason Sunardi
Vancouver College
Floor Location : M 010 N

I work at a senior care centre, and throughout the course of about three years, I have seen many elderly people struggling to grasp with their hands, and have to use a walker or wheelchair because their legs cannot support their weight. Quite often their arms are weak and unstable, meaning that if they were to fall, they would not be able to hold on to something or brace their impact. As well, when the elderly hold something, like a cup for instance, they cannot keep their hands steady and therefore shake their hands uncontrollably. Observing this, I have thought about applying exoskeletons, normally thought of in conjunction to the military, to them, in the hopes that it can let them hold something steadily and with ease, and hopefully keep their bodies in a stable upright stance that would let them move faster. For this project I will construct just the arm portion of the skeleton. It will have a lightweight aluminum or plastic frame, as it does not need to be too strong, and it will be covered with foam on the insides, so that it is more comfortable for the wearer. The arm will be motor-powered instead of a traditional pneumatic exoskeleton, as this takes up less space. Moreover, it will be controlled via force resistors instead of buttons, as it is more intuitive (apply pressure downwards for the motor to rotate downwards).