Students construct exoskeleton

Members of the Robotics team made headlines with their innovative 3D printed exoskeleton to help children with cerebral palsy learn to walk.
Members of the Robotics team made headlines with their innovative 3D printed exoskeleton to help children with cerebral palsy learn to walk.

By Heavyn Hilton

In May of 2014, members of the Robotics team collaborated to create an exoskeleton in a project led by team member and senior, Joel Simonoff. Intrigued by the thought of creating a machine powered shell to help the average human, the team agreed to compete in a competition known as the NotImpossible project (NI).

The team’s challenge was to create a powered exoskeleton, which operates through a system of motors. Made to help people with limb diseases, the exoskeleton helps generate limb movement. Doctors will use this in the medical field to aid nurses in moving heavier patients.

The initial design named Mark 1 was a success.

However, knowing they could make progress, the team soon created Mark 2. They had access to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) 3D printing shop through an associate of NI and received a new frame and treadmill.

Satisfied, they sent Mark 2 to MIT and waited in anticipation for a response.

“The manual treadmill came a little bit later, but was a necessary addition, straight from eBay,” senior Jake Mattinson said.

For 14 hours a day, 6 days in a row, the team met with members of MIT for input on their structure.

A few members from NI, including two doctors from Cornell and Burke Universities, visited the team and were pleased to announce that their work, which only cost $6,000, amounted to what is usually done in 10 years.

The team plans on releasing an upgraded exoskeleton of Mark 2, with their improved exoskeleton Mark 3, for research on January 1. After a few test runs, Mark 3 will be sent off to a hospital in Mexico for patient work.

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Author: Plaid Press

Granada Hills Charter High School newspaper

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