EduExo Offers Robotic Exoskeleton Kit for Makers and Educators
Tom Spendlove posted on July 07, 2017 |

Volker Bartenbach worked with exoskeleton research and development at ETH Zurich as a PhD student, and found that people were very interested in exoskeletons. He also found that there was very little opportunity to learn about exoskeletons and work with development or building of the systems. His desire to build a simple tool for makers and students to work with exoskeletons led to EduExo, the Robotic Exoskeleton Kit.

The kit is designed for students, makers, hobbyist and educators with a passion for robotics and making. Theory is stressed at every step of the way and the website has an extensive Knowledge Base that presents an introduction to the field, history of exoskeletons, and a survey of currently available technologies.

EduExo is an elbow exoskeleton with one degree of freedom, based off of an Arduino microcontroller, a motor and a force sensor. The tutorials included with the kit cover the basics of exoskeletons, mechanics and anatomy, electronics and software, and control systems. Bartenbach and his team hope that this foundation of learning will give makers and educators the ability to build more complex systems and projects. Future plans include extensions that will follow the same educational background, components and tutorial format.

EduExo looks like a great project hitting a niche where I don’t see a lot of products, in education or in terms of maker projects. A successful Kickstarter campaign ended in June and first kits are expected to ship in August and September 2017 - however the units aren't yet for sale through the company's website. I’m definitely interested to see what happens as the kits are released into the field and users get familiar with the technology and begin to create their own projects beyond the canned robotic arm. The website explicitly states that the kits are not intended for therapy or medical applications, and the exoskeleton will not make you super strong. Several demonstrations are found on the website, showing the arm controlling both virtual manipulatives and remote objects. The system won the Wearable Robotics Association Innovation Challenge earlier this year at WearRAcon17.

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