Makers continue development of Lego exoskeletons

Serbian designer Milan Sekiz shows off his exoskeleton arm built from Legos.

Dreamers who dream big and have access to large amounts of Legos have been working toward brick suits of armor for years. As early as 2005 using RCX bricks David Hyman created a complex hand system using three rotation sensors and two touch sensors.

Hyman’s creation was built to manipulate objects via remote control – the user would wear a Lego hand shell and control the model hand remotely. Rack and pinion systems move flexible tubes that attach to the fingertips to create the movements.

In August 2014 Dave Voltaggio built an arm out of Lego Technic and Mindstorm components. His arm included three moving fingers and an opposable thumb, controlled with four buttons.

This arm was an extension of Voltaggio’s limb and if properly geared could be used to augment his strength. He won the Best Mindstorms Brickee award at BrickFair 2014 for his project, powered by Mindstorm EV3 and controlled using embedded buttons.

This week Milan Sekiz has been making big internet news with his Lego exoskeleton arm, posted in several places on Tuesday. Sekiz built a framework that fits around his limb and flexes with the arm’s natural movements. There isn’t a complex remote control system or a Mindstorm brick attached to the arm for movement but the aesthetics of the piece combined with the fluid movements shown in the video are amazing.

Sekiz is a Serbian artist / maker / photographer with a passion for Legos. His website is full of Lego designs and irreverent words and phrases – my favorite is “Share this site with your friends or you are dead to me!”

As different builders receive attention for their different creations the idea of an exoskeleton built from Legos or even using Legos as a component seems closer to becoming a reality. Issues of energy storage and consumption, pressure sensitivity and safety will need to be addressed as we approach this new combination of Iron Man and Lego Man.