The goal of Project MARCH is the development and construction of exoskeleton for paraplegics that could accomplish the six components of the Cybathlon within ten minutes. The Cybathlon is a competition for bionic para-athletes where commercial and academic teams compete with an exoskeleton as quick as possible to complete the six components of the competition, designed as imitations of daily life obstacles. There are plans to for an upcoming Cybathlon in October 2017, in Amsterdam. This will be a great opportunity to test ourselves, to come into contact with and learn from other exoskeletons teams and to generate publicity.
Currently, there is no exoskeleton that can accomplish the six obstacles within ten minutes. By overcoming these obstacles, teams can prove their exoskeleton works both good and can be used to improve the daily life of paraplegic patients. Project MARCH team 2016-2017 wants to win this contest so our exoskeleton rightfully may call the exoskeleton best in the world. In this way, we want to take a step towards the vision of Project MARCH and contribute to the development of groundbreaking biomedical engineering.
Our Vision and Goal
Currently, the exoskeletons are still underdeveloped in biomedical industry and therefore paraplegics patients spend rest of their lives bounded to a wheelchair. Project MARCH wants to change this!
The vision on Project MARCH is to return full mobility back to people with paraplegia, who feel discomfort from the lives bounded on a wheelchair. Simple daily activities like grocery shopping can be often considered challenging or even impossible for them. Exoskeletons not only can provide them autonomy; they can go where ever they would like to on their convenient times, but also will allow them to communicate at eye level with others; instead of being "looked down" by them. In addition, there are numbers of cases that showed that the health of patients improved considerably after using the exoskeleton; such as improving the bone and muscle strengths, better bowel function, less risk of thrombosis, less pain during sleep, and more.
Although the project is currently focusing on the people with spinal cord injuries, our project could be further extended in the future to patients such as MS or ALS, or people who have had a work accident.