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High school kids are building a powered exoskeleton. We've made a lot of progress, but we need your help to finish the project!
High school kids are building a powered exoskeleton. We've made a lot of progress, but we need your help to finish the project!
120 backers pledged $7,263 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

AJAX Exosuit: Wearable powered exoskeleton project video thumbnail
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$7,263

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What is the AJAX Exosuit?

AJAX (Amplified Juggernaut Assistance Exoskeleton) is a full body exosuit designed to allow its user to lift and carry 400 pounds effortlessly. The goal is to have it entirely controlled by the wearer so that it responds naturally to the user’s arm and leg movements. We plan to debut the project at May 2015 Bay Area Maker Faire. This is our most ambitious Maker Faire project yet. For more information, pictures, and weekly updates, please visit exosuit.org

Who are we?

Our team consists of eight high school students from the Bay School of San Francisco working in conjunction with a few adult mentors and the Young Makers program for resources and guidance. We've never made anything quite like this before and have been enjoying this challenge. We hope to not only learn and grow as engineers from this experience, but also to inspire other people our age to take up projects of their own.

Members of our team have been exhibiting at Maker Faire for years, including projects such as Saphira, an animatronic fire breathing dragon, The Viper, a Battlestar Galactica themed flight simulator, and the Potato Gatling Gun. A list of all previous Maker Faire projects can be found here.

How it Works:

The AJAX exosuit detects its user’s movements with force sensors on their upper arms, forearms, thighs and lower legs and sends a signal to the on board Arduinos. The information is then processed and sent to the pneumatic pistons located at each joint. The pistons then push the suit’s limbs, allowing the suit to mirror its user’s movements. This means the AJAX exosuit can respond automatically to its wearer's actions and act as extra support and strength for heavy lifting.

Progress so far:

We've been talking about making an exosuit for years, but have always been worried about safety. However, seeing movies like Iron Man and Robocop got us excited enough about the concept to assemble a team and finally start working on it.

For more, check out our weekly progress updates on exosuit.org/exosuit-progress.

Our very first AJAX concept art.
Our very first AJAX concept art.
Our initial armature to test limb lengths and movement.
Our initial armature to test limb lengths and movement.
A demonstration of our first prototype arm at the Marin Mini-Maker Faire.
A demonstration of our first prototype arm at the Marin Mini-Maker Faire.
The first 3D model of the entire suit designed using Autodesk Inventor.
The first 3D model of the entire suit designed using Autodesk Inventor.
The current leg prototype.
The current leg prototype.

You can find additional pictures here.

Where your money is going:

All contributions will be used to cover the cost of materials and Kickstarter rewards. Here's a more in-depth breakdown of estimated costs:

  • Prototyping Expenses: $3,200
  • Final Suit Materials: $5,800
  • Maker Faire Exhibit Expenses (tshirts, banners, handouts, etc.): $900
  • Backer Gifts: $600
  • Total Expenses: $10,500

We've secured approximately $6500 in corporate sponsorships so far (thank you Autodesk and Cliparrd!), so we are seeking an additional $2500 from Kickstarter to help defray most of the remaining costs.

Any contributions in excess of actual expenses will be donated to our fiscal sponsor, The Maker Education Initiative, that supports creating making opportunities for kids and families.

Risks and challenges

The biggest risk is getting the suit to walk under control of the user. We've spent the last 6 weeks working on the sensing and control necessary for reliable walking. We believe we've overcome the major obstacles, but since this is a first of a kind project for us, we may run into additional problems.

No matter what we discover from here on out, we feel that we've reached a point where we can share an interesting and inspiring project at Maker Faire!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Thanks for your support! Your name or company will be listed as a Kickstarter Backer on our website (exosuit.org).

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    The previous reward plus a high-quality pen inscribed with the AJAX Exosuit logo.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    You will receive all the previous rewards, plus a team T-shirt with the AJAX Exosuit logo. In addition, you’ll have exclusive access for a year to all of our design documents, sketches, CAD models, schematics, software, etc. Enough to build your own Exosuit!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    All the previous rewards, plus an autographed 8x10 team picture.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    All the previous rewards, plus an opportunity to be a part of the team for a day. Join the team for a Saturday build session prior to Maker Fair, including lunch, snacks and beverages. If you live outside the Bay Area you can instead join us via Skype or Google hangout.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    All the previous rewards, plus your name or company logo prominently stenciled on the AJAX Exosuit frame.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    All the previous rewards, plus an opportunity for you and a guest to be backstage at the AJAX Exosuit booth at Maker Faire. Enjoy VIP treatment, delicious snacks, and two tickets to Maker Faire.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    All the previous rewards, plus, as a major sponsor, your name or company will appear on the team t-shirts.

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Funding period

- (14 days)