Industrial Exoskeletons, Ekso Bionics
During the summer of 2016, I interned at Ekso Bionics, a robotic exoskeleton company based in Richmond, California. Ekso produces a number of robotic exoskeletons spanning medical, military, and industrial applications. In the past, the company has pioneered the use of exoskeletons in the treatment of paralysis and stroke victims, with their Ekso GT exoskeleton, and has also taken part in multiple DARPA projects for military applications of the technology. Currently, the company is also working to expand into industrial areas, using passive exoskeletons to augment the abilities of industrial and construction workers, aiming to minimize injury and increase productivity.
While at Ekso, I worked on the industrial team, where I was primarily tasked with designing and implementing a cycle-testing apparatus for the company’s zeroG Arm system. This system consists of a passive load-balancing arm that uses springs to counteract the weight of a heavy tool, rendering it effectively weightless for the user. My testing stand cycled the arm through its full range of motion, simulating the loads that would be experienced in the field. Additionally, my device allowed for regular measurements of the arm’s lifting capacity, facilitating component lifespan analyses for quality assurance purposes. In addition to working with the zeroG, I also worked on the EksoVest system designed to provide shoulder joint assistance to industrial workers.