The Project March student team from TU Delft presented the design of the exoskeleton on March 7. The new version aims to enable “dynamic walking” with depth cameras and the team is studying control possibilities via EEG signals.
This year the team is doing “a lot of potential research” in the area of controlling brain activity. That should work with an electroencephalogram, or EEG. The team said in a press release that the first step is to control the exoskeleton through brain activity if the pilot wants to stand or walk.
Like the exoskeleton on March 6th last year, the March 7th is powered by depth cameras. Last year’s model was used; In the new version there are two. The team wants to work dynamically and enable more flexibility. This means that the exoskeleton can come out by scanning the environment and generating gait patterns in real time. For example, a pilot can step on the sidewalk at once, without stopping first.
A new mechanism should allow the pilot to stand upright without carrying crutches. This works with a system that extends from the thighs to which crutches can be attached. According to the team, this provides a more stable base and the pilot can, for example, drink a cup of coffee while standing.
The pilot can operate the March VII with an app on a smartphone placed in a stand. The team develops the app itself and the connection works with a local WiFi network. Moreover, the pilot can use his shoes on the 7th of March. It is compressed into a sole mechanism with pressure sensors. In the previous version, those sensors were integrated into special shoes.
The student team submitted the design and is now beginning to build on the 7th of March. In August, the team wants to show the new exoskeleton in practice. Just like last year, Koen van Zeeland partnered with the team as a pilot. He was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury in 2013.
Every year since 2015, a team of students has been working on March project† The goal of the TU Delft Project is to improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injury. The student’s project focuses on research and development of technologies and not on making the exoskeleton that will actually be put on the market.
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