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A 3D-printable, Arduino-powered kit for students, hobbyists and educators that teaches how to build and program robotic exoskeletons.
A 3D-printable, Arduino-powered kit for students, hobbyists and educators that teaches how to build and program robotic exoskeletons.
175 backers pledged CHF 21,687 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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CHF 21,687

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The EduExo

The EduExo is a robotic exoskeleton kit that you assemble and program yourself. It contains the hardware that you need to build an elbow exoskeleton. An accompanying handbook contains a tutorial that will guide you through the different assembly steps. In addition, the handbook provides background information on exoskeleton history, functionality and technology. In the end, you will have a good understanding about exoskeleton technology and its application, together with hands-on experience building and programming your own robotic exoskeleton.

The EduExo kit contains all parts that you need to assemble an elbow exoskeleton and a handbook with a tutorial.
The EduExo kit contains all parts that you need to assemble an elbow exoskeleton and a handbook with a tutorial.

The EduExo hardware combines off-the-shelf components (motor, force sensor and Arduino microcontroller) with a rigid exoskeleton structure and cuff interfaces.

Quick Facts:

What it is:

  • It is an educational robotics kit that will help you to learn about exoskeleton technology.
  • It is a do-it-yourself kit that requires your active participation and willingness to learn and try new things.

For whom it is:

  • For high school and college students who want to learn about robotic exoskeleton technology to prepare themselves for a career in exoskeletons and wearable robotics.
  • For makers and hobbyists who are looking for an interesting and entertaining project in a fascinating field.
  • For teachers and professors who want to set up exoskeleton courses or labs. The EduExo provides additional teaching material and can save a lot of time and money.

Project Background

When thinking of robotic exoskeletons, movies such as Iron Man, Aliens or Elysium may come to your mind. But already today there are many real world exoskeletons that support rehabilitation of stroke patients, enable people with paraplegia to walk again or assist workers lifting heavy objects.

Examples for existing exoskeletons. Left: a stationary arm rehabilitation exoskeleton e.g. for stroke therapy. Right: leg exoskeleton that enables users with paraplegia to walk. Pictures used with permission of ETH Zürich, Switzerland.
Examples for existing exoskeletons. Left: a stationary arm rehabilitation exoskeleton e.g. for stroke therapy. Right: leg exoskeleton that enables users with paraplegia to walk. Pictures used with permission of ETH Zürich, Switzerland.

And todays systems are just the beginning of a very promising and quickly growing field that is in need of many skilled talents within the next years.

Due to the novelty of the field, getting involved and learning about robotic exoskeletons is difficult as learning material or even exoskeleton course or classes are not widely available yet. This is made even more difficult as learning about exoskeletons is not possible by theory alone, but also requires practical hands on experience (you have to see and feel it to understand it). Unfortunately, the necessary exoskeleton hardware is expensive and there are no dedicated and affordable learning devices available. This is what we intend to change with the EduExo.

The EduExo recently won the Wearable Robotics Association Innovation Competition in April 2017.

 

This prize was awarded to us by a jury of CEOs and CTOs of leading exoskeleton companies, highlighting their demand for exoskeleton talents. Click on the banner above to learn more.

What Others Say

"Given that it strikes a nice balance between educational and “Holy sh** I just built an exoskeleton,” it isn’t surprising EduExo’s Kickstarter campaign is a success." - SnapMunk

"...you now have the opportunity to support this fantastic introduction to wearable robotics and augmentation technology kit" - Exoskeleton Report

"EduExo, now available on Kickstarter, is an attempt to bring this technology to the masses." - Arduin

"The main challenge of the project is to design exoskeleton hardware that is both cheap enough to be affordable for a high school student, but still complex enough to be an appropriate learning platform that teaches relevant and state of the art exoskeleton technology. EduExo, in my opinion, achieved its objective." - Open Electronics

"But the new EduExo exoskeleton kit on Kickstarter, is looking to democratize exoskeleton development. " - Robotics Trends

"So you would like to learn more how robotic exoskeletons work? The EduExo STEM kit has you covered." - Robotic Gizmos

"The core concept behind EduExo is pretty cool; a robotic exoskeleton kit that you can assemble and program yourself. " - All3DP

What You Will Learn

By going through the tutorial, you will learn how the mechanical design resembles the human anatomy, how to connect the sensors and the electronics board, and how to design and program a control system. Further, you will connect the exoskeleton to a computer and learn how to use it as a haptic device in combination with virtual reality. Each chapter of the tutorial introduces one topic, starting with the necessary theoretical background, followed by a set of exercises that the user implements with the hardware.

Excerpt from the Handbook. Each chapter introduces one topic, starting with the theoretical background followed by a set of excercises.
Excerpt from the Handbook. Each chapter introduces one topic, starting with the theoretical background followed by a set of excercises.

The following topics are covered: 

Exoskeleton Introduction

The first chapter will introduce you to the field of robotic exoskeletons and to exoskeleton technology. What are robotic exoskeletons? What are they used for? How do they work? Since when are they being developed and used? The introduction will get you started and inspired.

Mechanics and Anatomy 

This chapter covers the basics of human functional anatomy and exoskeleton mechanics: How does the human create forces and is able to move? How does the exoskeleton provide support? How is the exoskeleton designed to match the form of the human and how is it attached? During this tutorial, you assemble and wear the exoskeleton.

Electronics and Software 

The next chapter covers the electronic and software components that convert the mechanical exoskeleton into a robotic exoskeleton. You will connect the electronic components, sensors and actuators to an Arduino microcontroller, and write the basic software routines to read sensor signals and control the motor.

Control Systems 

The control system defines the behavior of the exoskeleton. After a general introduction into exoskeleton control, different controllers that define the exoskeleton-user interaction are introduced. Step-by-step we discuss, implement and test them.

Virtual Reality and Video Games 

Video games and virtual reality simulations are well-established methods in use with medical exoskeletons. They are used to increase motivation in patients that use exoskeletons for rehabilitation, e.g. after a stroke, to keep them engaged even in therapy sessions that can last for hours. You will learn how to create a computer game, connect the exoskeleton to your computer (Windows PC) and use it as a game controller.

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The Muscle Control Extension 

The muscle control extension adds a muscle activity sensor (EMG) and a new chapter to the handbook.

Measuring the user's muscle activity to estimate movement intentions is an interesting way to control a robotic exoskeleton and the EduExo will show you how it can be done. 

The extension contains a muscle activity (electromyography-EMG) sensor, cables to connect it to the Arduino microcontroller and electrodes to connect to the user to get you started.

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We chose to offer it separately because the EMG sensor is comparatively expensive. This way you can decide for yourself if you want to learn about this advanced robotic exoskeleton control approach or if you prefer to first get started with the basic kit. The extension will be offered separately after the full release of the kit.

Beyond the Tutorial

The EduExo tutorial introduces you to all you need to know for a deeper understanding of robotic exoskeletons. But, of course, there are many more possibilities of what you can do, and the EduExo is the perfect platform for your own experiments and ideas. Maybe you want to develop your own control algorithm or a new computer game that can be controlled with the EduExo? Or you want to learn more about mechanical design; you can start by designing new parts and interfaces to optimize the exoskeleton for your own arm anatomy. If you have implemented a great idea with the EduExo, we will be happy to share it on our website and YouTube channel.

Why we need your support

We have working prototypes of all components and have written many sections of the handbook. But we still have to finalize the hardware, finish handbook and tutorial, scale production and order the components. Therefore, we need your support. By contributing you will help us to create a STEM education kit to make robotic exoskeleton technology truly accessible. In return, you will be among the first to get the EduExo and gain knowledge and skills in a seminal field


Stretch Goals

We have reached 150% of our minimum funding goal (or 12k CHF)! Thank you so much for the support! As we have more than two weeks to go, we added stretch goals in case the campaign gets even more support. Of course, the stretch goals will benefit all backers.

The Rewards

Project Timeline 

The EduExo project started as a side project (besides a PhD in robotic exoskeleton research) and has been in development from early 2016. But only with the beginning of this year we were able to commit more time to turn the prototypes into a product to offer the EduExo to interested users, schools and universities. With your support, we expect to finish the development within the next months and start shipping in August. When we fulfilled all Kickstarter rewards, the EduExo kit will be fully released.

Spread the Word

If you like our project, we would highly appreciate if you helped us spread the word and share this campaign through your social media channels. Our Facebook and Twitter username is @eduexokit.

What the EduExo is not

To make sure that your expectations match our intentions, here are the things that the EduExo is not:

  • It is not a medical device that is intended to be used for any kind of therapy or medical application.
  • It is not an exoskeleton that will make you super strong. The actuation is weak. It is only intended to illustrate basic exoskeleton principles while being affordable and safe. You will not be able to do more chin-ups. It rather provides a gentle guidance of your voluntary movements.
  • It is not a plug-and-play device that works out of the box. You have to make it work, that is a feature!

Requirements

The EduExo is designed for users that are new to robotic exoskeletons. Basic programming and electronics skills are benefitial, but you can learn everything you need while using the kit. The tutorial includes step by step explanations and sample solutions.

To use the EduExo some preparation is necessary. Most of the electronics can be connected without soldering and a breadboard and jumper cables are included to get you started. The force sensor requires soldering to connect it. For that you need a soldering iron and some basic tools. Don't worry If you have not done this before. The equipment is not expensive and we include a step-by-step explanation in the tutorial. The Muscle Control extension also requires soldering. To program the exoskeleton (Arduino UNO microcontroller) you need to install the Arduino IDE. It is for free and can be downloaded on the Arduino website for several operation systems. For the "virtual reality and video games" chapter, you need to install the Unity 3D game engine. It is for free for private and non-commercial use but requires registration. So far we have only tested the Windows (7 and 10) version of it and cannot promise that the communication between exoskeleton and game works (similar) on other platforms.

Due to shipping regulations no battery is included. For all the tutorials we use the Arduino's power out to supply the sensors and the motor. While it is limited in power, it is sufficient for the tutorial. You can expand it later with a motor shield and even replace the actuator if you like. The Arduino itself has to be battery powered when wearing the exoskeleton (safety).

Shipping and Taxes

We are shipping the EduExo from Switzerland and ship worldwide. The shipping fees are listed with the rewards and will be added during checkout. You are responsible for any taxes, customs charges, etc. required by your country. We will attach the bill to the parcel and the product will be labeled as 'educational robotics kit' with its real value (what you paid for it). This should minimize any delay in case it gets processed by customs.

Risks and challenges

We use mostly off-the-shelf components that are widely available. But sometimes products change, are (for some time) not available and in stock or are discontinued. To minimize these risks we use parts which are interchangeable with little adaptation of the design.

In case we run into supply problems and have to adapt the design, it could delay manufacturing and shipping of the boxed kits. If you choose the maker edition (3D print it yourself), we will send you new STL files in case we update the design because of component supply problems.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CHF 15 or more About $15

    E-Handbook

    Approx. $ 15 / € 14 / £ 12

    More interested in the background information and exoskeleton theory than in the EduExo hardware? You get a pdf file of the handbook. (Retail price 20 CHF/$)

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    Pledge CHF 30 or more About $30

    EduExo Maker Edition

    Approx. $ 30 / € 28 / £ 23

    You have acess to a 3D printer, a well equipped toolbox and prefer doing things yourself? The EduExo maker edition is the right choice for you. You get a pdf of the handbook with the tutorial, STL files of the exoskeleton structure and a list of components you need. (Retail price 35 CHF/$)

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  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge CHF 165 or more About $167

    EduExo Kit (early bird)

    Approx. $ 165 / € 152 / £ 129

    The boxed version of the EduExo. Contains a printed handbook and all parts required to assemble the exoskeleton. Early bird limited offer. (Retail price 190 CHF/$).

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    Reward no longer available 15 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge CHF 180 or more About $182

    EduExo Kit

    Approx. $ 180 / € 166 / £ 140

    The boxed version of the EduExo. Contains a printed handbook and all parts required to assemble the exoskeleton. (Retail price 190 CHF/$).

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  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge CHF 230 or more About $233

    EduExo + Muscle Control Ext. (early)

    Approx. $ 230 / € 212 / £ 180

    The EduExo kit and the Muscle Control extension. Early bird limited offer. (Retail price 265 CHF/$)

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge CHF 250 or more About $253

    EduExo with Muscle Control Extension

    Approx. $ 250 / € 230 / £ 195

    The EduExo kit and the Muscle Control extension. (Retail price 265 CHF/$)

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge CHF 800 or more About $810

    EduExo Classroom Set

    Approx. $ 800 / € 740 / £ 625

    5 complete boxes of the EduExo kit and additional teaching material (illustrations etc. as digital files) to prepare your lectures.

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    Pledge CHF 1,100 or more About $1,114

    EduExo with Muscle Control Classroom Set

    Approx. $ 1100 / € 1015 / £ 860

    5 complete boxes of the EduExo Kit (each including the Muscle Control Extension) and additional teaching material (illustrations etc. as digital files) to prepare your lectures.

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Funding period

- (30 days)