At Otherlab, I built an elbow flexion actuation system. This section describes the process of creating a fully functioning prototype integrated with valves and electronics. The printed SLS-Nylon housing, strapping, and actuator were taken from concept to execution through Solidworks surface modeling, advanced pattern making, and user testing.
For early prototypes, I worked with materials often used to make custom fit orthotics. I integrated this with an actuator precisely sized for the desired range of motion and an early strapping concept. This was used for early user testing before CAD Modeling.
Early Solidworks Modeling
After doing initial testing with the mock up prototype, I switched to Solidworks modeling to integrate valves and electronics.
Pictured is the lower extremity exploded view.
After gaining fit validation and feedback, I made a second rev of the elbow device accommodating for increased ventilation and strapping improvements.
Elbow System Rev.2
Rev.2 of the Elbow System included a fully integrated housing for electronics, valves, and actuation. Cut outs reduce the weight of the device and improve breathability, reducing heat.
Strapping was designed to be easily detachable while still comfortable and effective. The latest strapping configuration was made to simulate wrapping. This was influenced by research done to find the lines of non-extension at the skin's surface.
Otherlab Exoskeleton Power Pack
The PowerPack housed all power and electronics for the exoskeleton being built at Otherlab. This includes: a RTPC, power board, two lithium ion batteries, and an accumulator tank.
The above Solidworks assembly shows mocks up of all basic components required in the PowerPack Layout Plan. The layout is based off the components selected by Controls, Electronics, and Mechanical Engineers on the team to meet speed, flow, and power requirements for high speed running.
PowerPack in Solidworks
The final assembly of the PowerPack included mock ups of all components.
Back view of PowerPack
The back of the PowerPack reveals several main design features:
The aluminum plate is a heat sink for the power board. Vents improve air circulation inside the enclosure. The bent shape of the plates provides an approximated curvature which matches the ballistic plates in a standard vest system. The tabs provide a hooking system that correlates with the molle webbing of the vest. The tabs were a quick and simple attachment point which did not require an added set of straps to an already strap heavy system.
Otherlab Fabric Knee
As the first hire under for the fabric-exoskeleton project at Otherlab, I was tasked with building a completely fabric knee extension device. The soft 'hardware' consisted of approximately $20 in materials and weighed less than 2 lbs.
Range of Motion
The maximum range of motion of this joint design was approximately 100 degrees.
Otherlab CareCube Hug Wall
During the Ebola outbreak in 2014, Otherlab was asked to respond with an emergency solution. We proposed an inflatable containment tent that would be one time use. One of the main complaints made by patients, was being able to interact with their loved ones. Through an iterative process, I developed a hug wall in order to accommodate this need. The hug wall was an airtight suit, built as an extension of the wall of the tent.
Designing for the 5th and 95th Percentile
This image depicts two adults, one in the 5th percentile and the other in the 95th percentile. The hug wall needed to be designed to accommodate both.
The Hug Wall
The Hug Wall was designed through an iterative process. Pictured was a later version, integrated with asbestos gloves, high clarity mylar, and polyethelyene sheeting.
This bellows style hug wall was designed to have a high range of motion and retract back into the wall. It was created using a laser welded bellows structure.
Pneubotics Proposal Cartoons
Often in proposal writing for a new technology, a drawing helps to close the imagination gap between the reader and the proposer. There were several projects which Pneubotics, an Otherlab company, benefited from visual aid.
Modular Manipulator Arm Proposal
This proposal is to create an autonomous underwater vehicle featured with fabric arms that fill with seawater to create a hydraulically actuation system that is neutrally buoyant. The arms can fold into the vehicle in a confined space during transit.
For space exploration, we proposed manipulator arms that could be attached to a rover. Currently, robotics sent to space do not have the capability to pick up rock sized payloads. They are also expensive to travel with due to spatial limitations. Fabric arms can pack down to a small space and be deployed upon landing.
Collaborative Industrial Robotics
In this ideation, the human does the complex and variable sensing, the robot does the heavy lifting, and they work together in tandem to complete tasks.