Ekso Suit: A 3D printed Hybrid Robotic Exoskeleton with customized structure
We have had our fair share of bionic exoskeleton contrivances, but nothing (arguably) comes close to the level of conscientiousness displayed by the above pictured Hybrid Robotic Exoskeleton. Fueled by the collaborative effort of the world’s largest 3D printer company – 3D Systems, and Ekso-Bionics, the so-named 3D Ekso Suit is custom tailored to ergonomically fit its subject. The ‘subject/test pilot’ for this fascinating endeavor was Amanda Boxtel, an outdoor enthusiast who unfortunately met with a serious injury in Aspen almost 12 years ago. The freak accident left her paralyzed from waist down, thus making her biologically unable to walk. But every story has a silver lining; the hybrid Exoskeleton robotic suit auspiciously came to the rescue, just like in a science fictional work. In fact, the advanced setup not only allowed her to stand with a nigh perfect posture, but also made her gloriously walk throughout the city of Budapest.
In terms of the 3D printed robotic structure, the Ekso Suit boasts of a back support, crutches and bionic legs. All of these components were constructed in a customized manner, with the help of 3D scannings of Boxtel’s body contours, including the thigh, shin and spin regions. In other words, the suit structure entails a ‘personalized’ system that intrinsically fits with the individual body. The advanced mechanical components like actuators and controls were incorporated into this custom-built framework, thus resulting in a true fusion of technological and organic attributes.
The Ekso Suit was ceremoniously showcased at a Singularity University-hosted event which took place in Budapest, Hungary. The contrivance presumably still has a long way to go in solely commercial terms. However, we do expect it to make its crucial debut in related medical applications, like other 3D Systems’ products.