Interview 04: Knowing exoskeleton robotics with EduExo

July 4, 2017

Written with love by

 

 

Last month i had a chat with with Volker Bartenbach from EduExo on their offering of 'EduExo Robotics Kit' .The 'EduExo robotics kit' is a robotic exoskeleton kit that you can assemble and program yourself. It contains the hardware that you need to build an elbow exoskeleton. EduExo recently completed a successful kick starter campaign and we found this product immensely interesting and decided to publish an interview with Volker on this.

 

So with out much wait here you go with the interview - 

 

Q1. (Smiles) Thank you, Volker, for getting some time from your busy schedule to talk with our viewers. So please tell us about yourself and your work at EduExo?

 

A1@ Volker-

 

Thank you for your interest. My name is Volker Bartenbach and I just recently received my PhD from ETH Zurich in Switzerland where I was researching and developing robotic exoskeletons. At ETH, I was also teaching robotic exoskeleton technology to students. In those courses, it became clear that many people are interested in the exoskeleton field and would like to learn more about it, but there are very few possibilities to get involved.

 

This was the motivation behind EduExo, to develop a robotic exoskeleton kit that combines exoskeleton learning material with an affordable DIY exoskeleton to enable more people (students but also hobbyists) to learn about this new technology. 

 

Q2. Thank you. What is the basic difference between a wearable technology and an Exoskeleton Robot? How can Exoskeleton Robot help humans?

 

A2 @ Volker-

 

Probably most people would consider wearable technology something like smartwatches or fitness trackers.

 

Of course, there is a big diversity in available devices and their application, but many of these wearable devices are designed to monitor the user by measuring, for example, the heart rate during sport or counting the steps during the day etc.

 

Their main goal is to provide the users with information about their performance in sports or health. 

 

Exoskeletons, on the other hand, are wearable robotic devices that are built to provide support and assistance to the user when executing physical activities.

 

EduExo recently completed a successful kick starter campaign and we found this product immensely interesting

 

 

They have the goal to enable the user to conduct tasks that he or she would not be able to do without the help of the exoskeletons.  Either because the task is too difficult for the average human (e.g. lifting very heavy objects) or because of a physical impairment (e.g. paralysis after a stroke).

 

Q3: You have won the Robotic event -  ‘Winter Innovations Competition 2017’ – What advice you would share with other robot makers when they participate in such robotic events?

 

A3@ Volker-

 

Clearly describe the motivation behind your project and how people can benefit from it, what your eventual goals are and why you will be able to achieve them.

 

 

 

And of course, it helps a lot when your project is in a field that is of great interest and fascination to many people as it is with robotic exoskeletons at the moment.

 

Q4: You just completed the Kick starter campaign – how was the response and what are the delivery timelines?

 

A4@ Volker-

 

The Kickstarter campaign had a very good response, it finished in early June and we raised around 270% of our goal.  Because of that success, we are now, of course, extra motivated to finalise the EduExo and send it out to our backers as quickly as possible.

 

We plan to start shipping in August and then release it to everyone through our website.

 

Q5:  What are the challenges you are facing currently as a team and how you plan to overcome them?

 

A5@ Volker-

 

I think right now the biggest challenge is that we have to do so many things at the same time. We have to finalise the EduExo kit, set up a company and bring it to the market. Many of these tasks (especially the business side) we do for the very first time and therefore, it takes a little extra time to do it right.

 

Clearly describe the motivation behind your project and how people can benefit from it, what your eventual goals are and why you will be able to achieve them.

 

 

But I think if we now just finish one task after the other we will eventually get everything sorted out.

 

Q6: (Curious) How much of control system is important to learn for young budding robotics engineers?

 

A6 @ Volker-

 

I personally think control system development is a fascinating aspect of robot development. Here you finally define the behaviour of your robot. In exoskeleton development control systems are even more fascinating because you can define how human and robot interact with each other.

 

 

I think everyone who goes into robotics should have a basic understanding of control systems. Ideally not only theoretical knowledge but also hands-on experience implementing them in some kind of robot to experience first-hand how control systems directly influence the robot behaviour.

 

 

If you realise that you enjoy it you can specialise, otherwise, you can choose another area.

 

Thankfully robotic exoskeletons are highly interdisciplinary systems and there is a wide variety of expertise needed.

 

Control system development is a fascinating aspect of robot development. Here you finally define the behaviour of your robot.

 

 

Q7: (Smiles) What is your review of MieRobot.com?

 

A6 @ Volker-

 

I really appreciate your blog and your goal to make robotics more accessible. I think so many people are interested but don’t know where to start and your blog will really help them.

 

Conclusion:

 

We loved interacting with Volker. We would request all our readers to have a look at EduExo website and the references provided below. The technical advise offered by Volker is priceless for us. We wish team EduExo all the best. 

 

References and attribution:

 

By Physicsch (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powered_exoskeleton

 

EduExo kit - https://www.eduexo.com/eduexo-kit/ 

 

EduExo homepage -    https://www.eduexo.com/

 

Video credit:

 

EduExo ,Youtube link referred with permission from EduExo

 

Disclaimer:

 

MieRobot.com does not publish paid endorsements or reviews and is an invite only platform. 

 

 

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