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.
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!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (14 days)