Pneumatic Exoskeleton Arm

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Presented By:
James Ho
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Tell us briefly about your project. Is it a work of art or does it serve another function?

This exoskeleton was designed and built so solve the problems with today's current exoskeletons. Because most exoskeletons today are actuated using hydraulics or servo motors, their production and material costs are relatively high. To solve this problem, this exoskeleton arm utilizes affordable, flexible, and lightweight air muscles. The frame is constructed out of a strong 6061 aluminium which keeps costs down. By applying air pressure within the muscles, they flex the forearm with an additional 63 Newton meters of torque.

When did you start working on this project and how long did it take you to complete?

I started this project in the spring of grade 9 and completed it in roughly one week.

What was your goal in building this project?

My goal was to provide a solution or an idea to further develop powered exoskeleton technology for the military, healthcare, and workplace safety. It needed to be more affordable than current exoskeletons, have the potential to be used in the near future, and to be very versatile.

Does your project help to solve a problem? If so what problem?

The problem with today's powered exoskeletons are that they are expensive, complicated, power hungry, and sometimes stationary. Whether it is for military purposes, first responders, or medical applications, my project has the ability to lower operation, maintenance, and material costs for future exoskeletons. By using compressed air, it can also be portable, versatile, and relatively inexpensive.

What makes your idea unique?

The use of air muscles on a rigid frame exoskeleton is unique, as it incorporates the flexibility and ease of use of an air muscle with the strength of a rigid frame.

In what capacity are you using bearings and what type of bearings?

At the elbow joint, regular roller bearings are used.

What is the most important thing you want people to know about your project?

I want people to rethink exoskeletons in that they are now becoming more accessible due to new innovations in the field of robotics and electronics.

How will you use the $5,000 prize?

I will invest the $5,000 into research and development for the human/machine interface so that the exoskeleton will be able to predict where you are going to move. I will also invest the $5,000 in a portable compressor and a powerful energy source to power the whole system.

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