Exoskeleton Vision 2030

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2020

#StudioIndustrialDesign #Master-Thesis


Today's exoskeleton systems are far from functioning flawlessly like a healthy human body, and wheelchairs remain the most common form of the personal mobility used today by people with paralysed lower extremity. The near future version of the exoskeleton has to have a compact and fashionable structure and an intuitive user interface that gives flexibility of development for paraplegic users. In this context, Exoskeleton Vision 2030 is a future vision concept of exoskeleton.

Following text and pictures by Abdullah Selim Buldu:


Wheelchairs have worked for centuries and they are the most common gadget of personal mobility used by lower extremity patients and people who moves with limited motion. With the development of modern technology, the wearable robotic device, also known as the, exoskeleton, a better alternative than wheelchairs, was invented for patients with lower extremities to regain healthy freedom of movement and reintegration in social life. However, today's exoskeleton systems are far from functioning flawlessly like a healthy human body, and wheelchairs remain the most common form of the personal mobility used today by people with lower extremity. About %70 percent of people with spinal cord injury have mainly provided their moving with wheelchairs today.

The Exoskeleton Market is expected to reach at least 4 billion dollar market volume by 2026. Considering this near future market analysis, technological developments are expected to encourage the design new and more advanced systems in exoskeleton industry. Gait rehabilitation and restoration of functional autonomy by means of robotic exoskeleton systems is becoming widespread and recently, exoskeleton systems can be prescribed as "take-home" devices. That means new systems need to be designed with the vision of the future and we need to go beyond the 3rd and 4th generation (current system) exoskeletons.

There are some complicated subjects in relation to the development of powered exoskeleton systems. The majority of powered exoskeletons currently developed are heavy and bulky with limited torque and power. This reduces the portability of the exoskeletons, particularly in spinal cord injury patients. Also, many gestures are often challenging or impossible for the user. Mechanical architecture and actuators restrict efficiency on current powered exoskeleton devices. All these factors currently limit the wide application of exoskeletons in spinal cord Injury patients daily lives today. There is a difference between the potential of these devices and the real experience of what they offer today because of this approximation deficiency.

The near future version of the exoskeleton (5th generation) has to have a compact and fashionable structure and an intuitive client interface that gives flexibility of development for paraplegic users. In this context, Exoskeleton Vision 2030 is a future vision concept of exoskeleton shaped by the industrial design understanding. It has a structural design to wrap the anatomical areas in the lower limbs and also has a fashionable parametric design language away from a mechanical appearance. Biomimicry was prioritized while shaping the design of the Exoskeleton Vision 2030. Therefore, the rigid frame of the Exoskeleton Vision 2030 is inspired and mimic from the wing structure of dragonflies in terms of aesthetics. That way, it is more compact and lighter than today's exoskeleton because it has a thin and hollow structure.

Another difficulty of today's 3rd generation exoskeleton is the difficulty of wearing and removing by user. Users need external support from someone to perform this. Exoskeleton Vision 2030 has a sliding thigh cuff mechanism that the user can wear himself just like an armor. This mechanism is directly connected to the rigid frame of the exoskeleton and has parts that automatically grasp the lower limb region of the user when the user places inside the exoskeleton. Thus, the stage of wearing and removing the device is not a challengeful and time efficient process for the user. This system was inspired by Hussein Chalayan's "remote control" dress which has movable structure.


The circular motion of the femur and pelvic rotation can be achieved thanks to spherical joint actuator in the femur position. It also has nano computer and Mini LiDAR, gyroscope and Acceleration sensors that constantly monitoring body position relative to the ground plane. These technical features and structural design allow the SCI patient wearing the Exoskeleton Vision 2030 to move freely without the need for crutches, such as a person with a healthy locomotion.

Mentorat:

Prof. Werner Baumhakl, Studio Industrial Design,

Nicole Schneider, Studio Industrial Design,

Prof. Dr. Ralf Trachte, Studio Industrial Design

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Alfredo Häberli

, Studio Industrial Design