How to Build a Exoskeleton

August 19, 2023
David Sunnyside

Imagine Ellen Ripley's power loader in "Aliens" or Iron Man's armor -- a metal framework that multiplies the wearer's strength beyond normal. While these powered exoskeletons might appear only in science fiction, the reality is that these frames have been developed for many applications.

These systems can be purely mechanical or operate with a combination of mechanics and electricity. Most of them take weight from a specific area, like arms and shoulders, and redistribute it to other areas (like core and waist), to reduce strain on muscles and joints.

Using sensors and motors, these exoskeletons allow users to lift heavy objects or withstand high loads without wearing out their own bodies. These types of frames are often used for tasks that involve repetitive movements or strenuous postures, such as construction and manufacturing.

Some companies are experimenting with full-body or limb robotic frames to help employees avoid overexertion and other musculoskeletal injuries. These suits can be very expensive, but they offer the potential to greatly increase the number of years that a worker can perform his or her job without suffering from these kinds of ailments.

Others have designed exoskeletons for children, such as those with spinal muscular atrophy. This type of frame allows kids to walk, which is not only physically beneficial but also provides cognitive, social and emotional benefits for the child. These frames are usually made of softer materials that can conform to the child's shape, and they often incorporate actuators to help the youngster move.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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