Newsletter January 2018

Newsletter January 2018

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Newsletter January
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Introduction

Dear reader,

Great to see that you are willing to get into some updates surrounding our project. First of all, on behalf of the whole team of MARCH, we wish you a very happy and healthy 2018! Our team has already kickstarted the new year: The end of the design phase is even in sight! Therefore, we will spend some extra attention on the technical developments within our project. But, of course, the usual events will also be discussed. Have fun reading!

On behalf of the whole team of Project MARCH,

Robbert de Lange and Magali Ponds

Previous month

PR Campaign
For the past month, the Project MARCH social media was dedicated to the PR Campaign #WhyMARCH. In this campaign different people who are involved in our project stated why they believed in the exoskeleton technology. During this seven-week series, we tried to illuminate the exoskeleton technology from different perspectives, backgrounds and interests. In the past newsletter there has already been a short midterm update of the contributions, but ever since the series is completed now we want to showcase the complete overview as well. With pride, we look back on a number of very valuable, unique and remarkable items. Think of HRH Prince Constantijn, Startup Envoy of the Netherlands, and Chris Oomen, CEO of DSW Health Insurances. Underneath you will find a collage of all contributions.
Contributions in order f.l.t.r.:
Eiso Vaandrager Founder of Project MARCH
Karel Luyben Rector Magnificus TU Delft
Ilse van Nes Medical Doctor Specialized in Rehabilitation Medicine
Chris Oomen CEO DSW
Ruben de Sain Pilot team MARCH II
Jos Dekkers Chairman of the Dutch SCI Association
HRH Prince Constantijn van Oranje Startup Envoy of the Nederlands
Kenniscafé
On Monday the 18th of December, just before the Holidays, Project MARCH participated in the 'Kenniscafé' in the Balie. An initiative from the Volkskrant, KNAW, NEMO Sciencelink and De Balie. This night was devoted to the theme 'Superhero Science': To which extent does science already manage to realise fictional superheroes in reality? Superheroes are of course an amazing illustration of our technological progress. Obviously, our project fits this theme well and therefore our PR Manager, Magali Ponds, was one of the guest speakers during this night. Wondering how the interview went? The livestream is still available to be watched on the website of de Balie or via this link. (around 52 min)

Technical Update

Sjaan visiting the Dreamhall
Our pilot, Sjaan, visited the D:DREAMhall on wednesday 6th of December to give feedback and brainstorm about our choices that we've made for the design of the exoskeleton. For example, Sjaan looked together with Maxine, our Machine Interface Engineer, at the optimisation of the buttons on the 'Input Device'. Sjaan also evaluated the design choices and thought of new ideas together with the other projects: Joint, Frame and Communication. By means of these, at least monthly, sessions we try to focus on co-creation whilst we are in our design process. Sjaan is very enthusiastic about the project progress so far. We, as a team, are also very happy that co-creation can be such a leading factor in our project. It could not be possible without the enthusiasm and the input of Sjaan.

Besides this visit, Sjaan also visited us on wednesday the 3th of January to give new feedback on further choices in the process. Issues that were suggested in the previous session were also evaluated and further optimized in this session. To give an impression of the day, we added some photos below.

Upcoming month

Crowdfunding
Project MARCH will launch a crowdfunding campagn in the upcoming month as a follow-up on the campaign #WhyMARCH. On wednesday the 10th of January the campaign will go live, where we ask for a donation to purchase the joints of the exoskeleton (the MARCH III). Our Social Media will then be completely dedicated to this campaign. But, of course, we can't do this alone. We need your help! By sharing our posts, we will reach a bigger audience and you will have a chance of winning prizes yourself. Our goal is to reach €10.000 and to reach it, any donations are most welcome. Of course, every donor will be rewarded an acknowledgement for his or her support! Keep an eye on our Social Media! You can soon find the crowdfunding campaign on www.supporttudelft.nl or follow us on Facebook.
Finally

In short, we are looking forward to a month full of fun and important activities, with the Crowdfunding campaign as highlight of course. Step by step, we are getting closer to our final design of the exoskeleton. Enough exciting news to talk about in the next newsletter! See you then!
Copyright © 2017 Project MARCH, All rights reserved.
U ontvangt deze email omdat u zich heeft opgegeven voor de nieuwsbrief, of Project MARCH heeft gevraagd u er een te sturen.

Our mailing address is:
Project MARCH
Stevinweg 1
Delft, Zuid Holland 2628CN
Netherlands
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Newsletter December 2017

Newsletter December 2017

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Intro

It's a new month and so it's time again for an update on our project. Of course we strive for a walking exoskeleton at the end of our year to participate in the Cybathlon. Realizing this deadline means sometimes racing against the clock. Fortunately the team of Project MARCH hasn't been sitting around in the last month. This newsletter we will pay special attention to our technical progress. Besides that, we want to look back on November, the event month. This brought us to a lot of interesting places. And finally, we will look forward to what the upcoming month has to offer besides the holidays.

Robbert de Lange & Magali Ponds

Technical update

Last month our Technical Department has been very busy with the designing of the exoskeleton. Currently we are in the Low-Level Design Phase where the different projects of the team have to make deliberate choices for the final technical features in the exoskeleton. Prior to this phase, the High Level Concept phase took place. In this phase the team of Project MARCH went into the fuzzy brainstorm. The outcome of this brainstorm are several concepts from which a selection is made. In the current phase, the Low-Level concept phase, these selections of concepts will be further elaborated and selected. To make any further choices, the MARCH II, the second exoskeleton of Project MARCH, will be tested. For example, strain gauges were used for measurements in the last month. By placing the strain gauges on specific places on the exoskeleton, data can be gathered about the forces and deformations in the exoskeleton. We can optimize the design of the MARCH III, our next exoskeleton, with the aid of this data. This is why the MARCH II will contain some extra cables in the future to obtain information for the design process.

Slowly Christmas is coming up on the calendar, which means our concept phase will come to an end. The deadline for the final design of of the technical parts are coming close and production will follow very soon. The Technical Department is racing against the clock to meet the deadlines, which helps to get the design done in time for the next step in our process.

Last month

November is exhibition month and our calander was therefore fully filled with events, exhibitions and presentations. To give an impression of this, we have made a selection of interesting events that are worked out below.

Conference 'Verder in Beweging'

On the 10th of November Project MARCH attended the conference 'Verder in Beweging". This conference was organised by our partner, the 'Sint Maartenskliniek'. Within this conference the emphasis was on the perspective of healthcare of posture and movement in the future. The day programme consisted of lectures from inspiring speakers, like Esther Vergeer (professional wheelchair tennis player), Chris Oomen (CEO of DSW health insurances) and Jan Terlouw (writer). At our stond we were able to share our vision on this topic and discuss the future of the promising exoskeleton technology. Attending this day confirmed once more our motivation for our mission: To give back full mobility to people with paraplegia by means of an exoskeleton.

Precision Fair

On the 15th and 16th of november 2017 the 17th edition of the successful Precision Fair took place in Veldhoven. Project MARCH was present on both days to show our newest exoskeleton prototype, the MARCH II. These days were all about technology. As technical students we felt totally at home here. It was very exciting to discuss our exoskeleton technology with technicians from different backgrounds. All in all, the event was a big success.

Hi-Technology day ministry VWS

In week 46, for the first edition of the e-Health week, Project MARCH visited the ministry of Healthcare, Wellbeing and Sports. In this week, Tuesday the 14th of november was specially devoted to hi-tech. During this day, hi-tech innovations in healthcare were introduced to policymakers and directors. A good example of hi-tech is, of course, the MARCH. Therefore, our team attended this event and gave a short presentation on our project and our vision on the contribution of this promising technology to society. In this way we hope to be heard in The Hague and acquire their support in gaining more awareness for this technology.

#WhyMARCH

Three weeks ago the new PR Campaign of Project MARCH has started. In these seven weeks the Social Media channels of Project MARCH will be all about the question "Why MARCH?". In this campaign seven people, involved with our Project, answer the question: "Why do you believe in the exoskeleton?" Each of them from his/her own unique perspective. Currently, the fourth contribution to this campaign has been put online and the added value from the exoskeleton technology has been enlightened from four different points of view. The campaign started with Eiso Vaandrager, the founder of Project MARCH. He was followed up by Karel Luyben, who represented the technical view on our exoskeleton as Rector Magnificus of Delft University of Technology. Afterwards it was up to Ilse van Nes, medical doctor specialized in rehabilitation medicine at the 'Sint Maartenskliniek', to give a medical view on the exoskeleton technology. And most recently, Chris Oomen, CEO of DSW health insurance, even participated in our campaign. He shared his future vision on the exoskeleton technology in the world of Health Insurance.

Upcoming month

DSW Bruggenloop

Besides working hard on the exoskeleton, the team also does its best to stay fit. On Sunday the 10th of December six team members of Project MARCH will participate in the DSW Bruggenloop. This is a run of 15 kilometers where the participants will run over six bridges located in Rotterdam. The team members are training hard to set the best time on this trail. The start numbers are almost in our mailboxes, and we are really looking forward to the run!

'Feessie van Keessie'

"Feessie van Keessie". That is what we call it in the D:DREAMhall: The party that is given by Kees, the manager of the workplace at the D:DREAMhall. Kees helps all students in the D:DREAMhall to handle all the machinery and produce parts for their projects. But that is not the only thing that Kees does in the hall. Every day cheers everybody up with his singing and his smooth chatter. To close another year Kees throws his own party, where all DreamTeams can look back on the year while enjoying a beer and an 'oliebol'. Why? That can best be expressed by Kees's own words: "Because I love my students!".

Finally...

As you can read above, december will be a very exciting month and we can look forward to a lot of fun activities. These activities will of course not only take place in the dreamhall, because our team has also deserved a week off over Christmas. Therefore, we will be out of office from the 25th up to and including the 1st of january. But fortunately there will be a brand new newsletter waiting for you in the new year. For now, the team of Project MARCH wishes you happy holidays and a happy and healthy new year. See you in the next newsletter.
Copyright © 2017 Project MARCH, All rights reserved.
U ontvangt deze email omdat u zich heeft opgegeven voor de nieuwsbrief, of Project MARCH heeft gevraagd u er een te sturen.

Our mailing address is:
Project MARCH
Stevinweg 1
Delft, Zuid Holland 2628CN
Netherlands
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Newsletter November 2017

Newsletter November 2017

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Introduction

The start of a new month also means a new newsletter. And this time this newsletter is even written by a new team. Last month we’ve shortly introduced ourselves to you, but from November on the baton is definitively passed on to us. In September we’ve started with our brandnew design and time is flying! Therefore, this newsletter is full all the new developments that have been going on concerning our project. We would like to invite you to take a look at our last month.

We hope you have just as much fun reading this newsletter as we had while writing it.

Robbert de Lange & Magali Ponds.

Monthly report

Meet our Pilot

In week 42 Project MARCH has introduced her third team to friends and family. Amongst them was our newest teammember, our pilot: Sjaan Quirijns. She will be the follow-up of Ruben de Sain, the pilot of MARCH II. As pilot of team Project MARCH it is very important to be in excellent physical condition. Fortunately, that is no problem at all with Sjaan. Ever since Sjaan was diagnosed with a T9 lesion after a sporting accident, she hasn't been sitting still. She got in touch with a whole new world of sports, in which she turned out to be more than successful!
She participated in the World Championship adapted rowing, became Dutch champion indoor and climbed both the Alp d’Huez and the Kautertale Gletscherstraße in the same week on her handbike! But besides sporting, Sjaan has a variety of other hobbies. Watching a movie in the cinema might be her number one leisure.
In daily life Sjaan works fulltime at the Hogeschool Utrecht as functional manager. Her experience with working with different target groups comes in handy during our project. Since Project MARCH works with co-creation, the cooperation between team and pilot is central. Our design is closely adjusted to the feedback of our pilot, Sjaan, in order to achieve the best final result possible: An exoskeleton that is user friendly in daily life practice and hopefully the future replacement of the wheelchair.
Science for Humanity
On sunday the 15th of Ocotobre Project MARCH participated in the Science for Humanity event. This day was meant for future companies, organisations and intitutions to present their newest technologies to both professionals and the large audience. By giving two ‚Tech Talks’ and holding a stand, Project MARCH showed the visitors what our project is all about and what we managed to achieve over the past years.

Open days TU Delft
On friday the 20th and monday the 23th of octobre the Open Days of the TU Delft took place. For the TU Delft these days were, of course, all about recruiting possible new students. To illustrate them the possible applications of technical studies, Project MARCH was represented at the faculties of Industrial Design Engineering and Electrotechnique, Mathematics and Informatics.
D:DREAM Innovation Awards
Friday Project MARCH won the first price in the D:DREAM Innovation Awards! This award is created to reward and stimulate innovation amongst Dreamteams in the D:DREAMhall of the @Technische Universiteit Delft. By receiving this price we can now call ourselves the most innovative Dreamteam. Especially with regard to our social impact and technical contribution in the field of exoskeletons, Project MARCH has made the difference. Therefore, we are very happy and very proud to receive this title. This reward stimulates us to continue our work and #MARCHon.

Upcoming

Events
November is for the team of Project MARCH a month full of events. Our agenda is fully booked with a large amount of events. Please find an overview of our programme for the next month below.

8 november Carrieredag VU Bewegingswetenschappen
9 november Dutch Congress of Rehabilition Medicine (DCRM)
10 november Congres 'Verder in Beweging'
14 november Hi-tech dag ministerie van VWS
15 november Precisiebeurs
16 november Precisiebeurs
18 november Personeelsdag faculteit 3ME TU Delft
23 november Haegsche Lobby
24 november Talentevent
25 november Talentevent

We would like to invite you to visit us at these events, so we can answer all your questions in person. For more information about the events, you can take a look at our website.

Social Media
Thursday the 10th over november we will launch our first social media campaign: „Why MARCH?“. In which the question: „Why do you believe in the exoskeleton?“ is central. Every week the floor will be given to a new ambassador of the exoskeleton and more specific: Project MARCH. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Linked-in and Twitter and keep an eye on our channels.






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Newsletter October 2017

Newsletter October 2017

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The last mile
Last month was not only our last month, but mostly also our most important month. We trained a lot with Ruben and by means of this we kept optimising the MARCH II until the end in order to be completely ready for the last even of our year: the Cybathlon Experience. Here, we were able to test ourselves and our design and besides, we could show to the rest of the world what we achieved in one year time. We are proud of the end result! Not only did we achieve our goal generously, we also surpassed our own expectations. Maybe you followed our vlogs during the week, maybe not. In any event, you can find a complete overview of what the week was like, so that you can enjoy this successful and unforgettable closure of a fantastic year one last time, together with us!
Sunday 1 October
On Sunday it was time for the very last preparations for departure. Almost the whole workspace was packed into crates and boxes and put into the van to make sure we would be able to keep working in Düsseldorf, in case this would be needed. After also the MARCH II had been put safely into the van, we were completely ready to depart the next morning!
Vlog 1 - Packing
Monday 2 October
On Monday it was finally time: the departure to Düsseldorf! After a prosperous car ride we arrived at our hostel in the afternoon. After all stuff was unloaded, it was time to explore the city. We had a nice evening, after which everybody went to bed on time, since we would leave the next morning for the Messe for our Tech-check early. 
Vlog 2 - Departure

Tuesday 3 October
On Tuesday, we went to the Messe for the first time and we were able to explore the track together with Ruben. Besides, we had our Tech-check, during which we had to complete all obstacles to check if the MARCH II satisfied all safety requirements. After some small adjustments to the emergency button and the placement of the crutch on Ruben's body while doing the stairs and the ramp, we passed this check successfully and we finished the day with a promising training on the track. 
Vlog 3 - Tech-check

Wednesday 4 October
On Wednesday it was finally time: our first racing day of the Cybathlon Experience! During all three races we decided to skip the ramp to make sure to set a good time and a good score and we succeeded in this. At the end of the day, we were able to train the slope and door with Ruben, so that we were well prepared for the second racing day.
Vlog 4 - First racing day

Thursday 5 October
On Thursday we had our second racing day and this one also went well. To be sure to complete the ramp and door this day successful, we decided to go for three of the four obstacles again and leave both the stairs and the rough terrain out for once. It turnt out to be a good choice to focus on the slope, since this obstacle went faster and faster during the day and this was promising for the third racing day.
Vlog 5 - Second racing day

Friday 6 October
On Friday it turnt out that we made a good choice by bringing our workspace to Düsseldorf. To make sure we would succeed in completing all four obstacles in time, we decided to make an adjustment to the MARCH II. We made a complete new input device and we printed a new handle with the 3D printer. We decided to move the input device from the right crutch to the left crutch, so that Ruben didn't had to change his crutches impractically during the race and with this we hoped to win time. In order to be allowed to use this new input device during our last racing day, we had to do an extra Tech-check, which was completed successfully. 
Vlog 6 - Third racing day

Saturday 7 October
Saturday was our very last racing day and on this day it had to happen: completing all obstacles within the 8 minutes of the race. This day we had not three but four races on the planning. The new input device turnt out to be a succes, because during the third race we achieved our goal: Ruben completed all obstacles with a time of 7 minutes and 30 seconds. When we thought it couldn't go any better, Ruben proved us wrong and during the very last race he surpassed our expectations: he completed all four obstacles successfully again and this time it was even below a time of 7 minutes! With this we even became second in the final ranking. We are very proud of this results and with a concluding dinner in Düsseldorf to celebrate our success, we concluded a very successful week in a very successful way!
Vlog 7 - Last racing day
More footage
During the whole week we gathered, besides vlogs, a lot more footage of course. You can find this on our Flickr account and of course also on our website. Take a look!

Thank you!
After this successful end result, which we will enjoy for a long time, the moment is here for us to definitively hand the baton to the new team. We look back at a fantastic year, during which we achieved our goal, learned a lot and most of all also had a lot of fun together. We would like to thank you for all your support and enthusiasm the past year. Besides, we would like to ask you to keep following Project MARCH, as this was only the beginning of course! The new team will continue this upward trend and we are completely confident that we, as Project MARCH, will come closer and closer to our vision: to give back full mobility to people with a spinal cord injury.
Team 2016-2017
Let's meet!
Having participated in the Cybathlon competition, the year of team Project MARCH 2016-2017 has come to an end. This also means that a new team, consisting out of eightteen enthousiastic students, has been recruited for the new year. All these students will devote themselves to one shared goal:  Develop and built an even more innovative and versatile exoskelleton than the MARCH II. In august we started our year as new team, and time is flying: The first nine weeks are already behind us! Fortunately, the foundation for a new exoskelleton has been layed and we look forward to the rest of our year, in which we hopefully will be just as succesful as our predecessors.  
Team 2017-2018

Newsletter September 2017

Newsletter September 2017

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The month of the reveal
Last Thursday the moment was there: the reveal of the MARCH II! Last month we did a lot of preparations to make sure everything would go perfectly on the day itself. We are looking back at a very successful day with a press moment in the morning and a special reveal for our partners, family and friends in the evening. Besides the reveal, we also continued with training for the Cybathlon Experience of course, which will take place in one month already. In this newsletter you will find everything you want to know about our progress of last month!
Press moment
On the morning of Thursday the 31st of August, we revealed the MARCH II to the press for the first time. The press moment took place in the Dreamhall. Ruben took the first official steps and this attracted the attention of a lot of different media and we even appeared on the Dutch news! We really like the fact that there are so many positive reactions on our project and we are very happy to share our vision with more and more people everyday. Most of the publication with regard to our reveal can be found on our website (most of them are in Dutch).
Evening presentation
In the evening we invited our partners, family and friends personally to witness the reveal. The evening was led by Donald, who told about our goal and vision but also about the challenges we encountered during the year. After that a lot of excitement was built up by means of the video below, which sums up our year, with the incredible moment of Ruben walking up the stage in the MARCH II. This was the moment when we and the audience got goose bumps. The complete presentation can be watched back via this link. The evening was ended with some drinks, during which we talked extensively to our partners, family and friends. All in all it was an unforgettable evening and we are very satisfied. From now on we can start preparing for the competition!
The reveal of the MARCH II
Walking up the stairs
During the reveal, we showed to the world that we are able to walk with the exoskeleton. The upcoming month we will train for the other obstacles. Last Sunday, we traveled to Nijmegen to practice the stairs with Ruben for the first time. We built this obstacle ourselves with the same dimensions as the stairs of the Cybathlon Experience. This was a success, it went well the first time already. In the video you see Ruben climbing the first step and this went quite smooth. Of course, there is room for improvement especially when he steps down, as this was a bit too fast this time. This means that Software & Control has a point of improvement for the next training. The training was evaluated while enjoying a hamburger in the McDonald's. During the next training we will also try to go up and down the slope.
Training - Stairs
Start new team
While we are working hard on all the preparations and training for the Cybathlon Experience, a new team has started at the 14th of August, consisting of no less than 18 enthusiastic full-timers! In the last few weeks, they got to know Project MARCH, determine their own team structure and made their annual planning! The upcoming weeks, they will work on their High Level Concept. We wish them a lot of success and fun while developing the exoskeleton!

Did you know...
... most of us started their master study this Monday and thus have to study besides doing MARCH this last month?

... our reveal video have been watched 15.000 times already?
... around 2 million people saw the item about Project MARCH on the Dutch news during the news of 8 o'clock last Thursday? For three days we also appeared on the frontpage of the NOS app!
Coming month
Coming month we will keep training intensively and we will practice all obstacles of the competition and keep repeating them until the competition! Besides, we will transfer more and more tasks to the new team, so that they can take over completely after our competition.

Newsletter August 2017

Newsletter August 2017

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A month of milestones
During the month July we have worked really hard and therefore we can tell you proudly that we achieved a lot of milestones. Despite the fact that we want to keep the final design of the MARCH II a secret until our reveal on the 31st of August (more about this later), we will give you an update on our most important achievements of last month.
 
Cybathlon Experience 
As most of you probably already know we will participate in a competition at the end of our year with Ruben as our pilot. In this video Ericka and Marise tell you everything about this competition and our preparations for this competition!
Assembly
On Thursday the 27th of July, it was finally time: the assembly of the MARCH II! After all separate parts were assembled first, we were able to build the whole exoskeleton by means of all these components. We keep the images a secret for now, but we can tell you she looks even more beautiful in reality! 
 
Air gait
On Monday the 31st of July we achieved a second milestone, namely a successful air gat. This means that the exoskeleton is mounted on a special testing cage (as shown on the picture) and that it will execute the programmed gait for the first time in the air. By means of the air gait it can be checked if all software and electronics is valid and if the whole exoskeleton functions well and is able to execute the right movements. This is of course a requirement before an actual person will go into the exoskeleton. 
Training with team members
In order to be sure the exoskeleton also functions well with someone in it and thus is safe enough for Ruben, we first started with some training during which team members went into the exoskeleton. Last week both Xander and Gijs stood up successfully with the MARCH II. They are the only ones in the team with the same leg lengths as Ruben. Thanks to this kind of training all software could be checked carefully and we were also able to practice critical situations that could occur during a training with Ruben. In this way we were able to prepare well beforehand. 
First training with Ruben
On Tuesday the 8th of August it was finally time: our first training with Ruben! It was really exciting to see Ruben in our own exoskeleton for the first time. Although at first not everything worked out as planned, we succeeded and were able to stand up with Ruben in the MARCH II. This was of course the biggest milestone until then and it means at the same time that the training period with Ruben has officially started. This is really motivating for the whole team and we are really looking forward to all milestones that will follow!
MARCH around the world
Although we will be working very hard during the whole summer vacation in order  to achieve a fantastic result during the Cybathlon Experience, everybody is also going on a holiday. On holiday Project MARCH is not forgotten: at this moment we are working on a really nice "MARCH around the world" photo series, which will appear on our social media channels after the vacation.

 
Did you know...
... the new team will go full-time from next Monday and that this means there will be two MARCH teams active at the same time until the Cybathlon Experience?
... we used four different cameras during the first training with Ruben? Two to film the technical details for revision afterwards, one to shoot nice pictures and one to record video material.
... a MARCH around the world photo is already taken in 12 different countries? This will only increase from now!
Next month
As already mentioned at the beginning of this newsletter, the reveal of the MARCH II will take place on Thursday the 31st of August. This is the moment on which we will finally go public with our definitive design. Until then we will be busy with the training with Ruben and the optimisation of the exoskeleton. Besides, we will of course work on the necessary preparations for the reveal and the Cybathlon Experience, that were already started with last month. Above all, keep an eye on our social media channels!

Newsletter July 2017

Newsletter July 2017

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A month full of production
Last month the final design of almost all components of the exoskeleton were determined and prepared for production. At this moment, these components are being produced at full power, both in-house as at some of our partners. This also means the moment at which we can start with the assembly of the exoskeleton comes closer and closer! In this newsletter you can read more about our progress. 
Cybathlon Experience
Another thing that is coming closer, is the competition at the end of our year of course. By means of this newsletter we would like to tell you more about this competition. This year there will be no Cybathlon in Zürich, since this competition will be held every four years, just like the Olympic Games. Instead, there will be a spin-off of the Cybathlon, namely the Cybathlon Experience. This competition will be part of Rehacare, an international fair that is focused on rehabilitation and care, which will take place in Düsseldorf from the 4th to the 7th of October. The idea behind the Cybathlon Experience will be the same as the real Cybathlon. However, the track will consist of four obstacles and there will be a new obstacle compared to the competition in Zürich. At this moment, we are working on a video in which we explain all these obstacles separately, so you can expect this video very soon for more explanation!
Design ankle
As told in the previous newsletter, last month a new department was established which is responsible for the ankles of the exoskeleton. In a very short time they completed all steps of the design process and a design for the ankles was created. The final design consists of a rigid ankle with an insole, which is produced especially for Ruben. They also chose a swappable connector, which is shown in the image. This connector forms the connection between the ankle and the lower leg. It is, as the name already suggests, swappable, which makes it possible to try out different positions.
 

 
Hip structure
One of the components that is being produced at this moment is the hip structure. This is a part of frame and it is designed so that all of support surfaces of the human being guide the shape of this component. Due to this reason we chose a triangular structure.
Furthermore, the hip structure is the connection between the legs of the exoskeleton, making it very important that this part is stiff enough. In addition, this component will also be the largest part to be milled. The first image shows the CAD model of the hip structure, and the second image shows the block of aluminium, from where the shape is created. In addition to the hip structure, the rest of the frame, including the upper and lower leg bones, went into production.
First joint tests
Also the first tests with the first iteration of the joint took place with regard to position and velocity control. After that it’s time for the real deal: the testing of the moment of force the joint can deliver, and with that the force it can provide. For this we make use of dumbbells. 
In this way, we are able to attach different weights to the set-up and with that we can measure the exact moment of force the joint can deliver. When the second and last iteration of the joint arrives, we will be able to start testing in an efficient way immediately. Footage of the very first test can be found here
 
Wiring exoskeleton
We also started with the production of the cable assembly of the exoskeleton, which means that we are putting together all different electronic cables needed in the exoskeleton. First, the whole cable assembly was modelled in CATIA to be able to determine how much wiring is exactly required. Subsequently, this cable assembly is now actually being made, so that it only has to be connected to the exoskeleton once all other parts are in.
MARCH rice table
Besides all the hard work, it is of course also very important to keep doing team activities. Therefore, we had a big dinner last Friday together with both the previous, the current and the next team of Project MARCH. Some team members have worked really hard in the kitchen to prepare a delicious rice table.

From streaky belly to Indonesian rendang, nothing was absent during this culinary evening. It was really fun to have all three MARCH teams together and it was the perfect moment for everybody to get to know each other and to give the rest an extensive update about the progress of the MARCH II!
 
Did you know...
... the MARCH II has over 200 wires with a total length of more than 38 meters?
... our team manager designed special holders for our info folders and our business cards and produced them by 3D printing? In this way we will have an even better appearance at coming events!
... since last month team members are cooking at the Dreamhall every day? In this way we can both eat together in a relaxed atmosphere and accomplish some work even after dinner!
Coming month 
Coming month all produced parts will come in and we hope that we are able to work towards the air gait, which is planned for the end of July, in a successful way. Furthermore, most of us will alternately go on a short holiday for a week, so that all of us can work extra hard on the project after that. 

Newsletter June 2017

Newsletter June 2017

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A month of progress
Last month we didn't sit still at all and that noticeable! Various components went into production and some of them are already in. Furthermore, all departments are increasingly focussing on the detailed engineering and the exoskeleton is taking more and more shape. Also a lot of events took place last month. In this extra long newsletter we will give you an update on all progress!
Secrets of Superhero Science
On the 7th June, during the International Festival of Technology, the very first symposium on Superhero Science took place in the auditorium. During this symposium the current technological developments were being compared with superhero technologies and by means of this it was considered how far we actually are from creating real superpowers and how desirable this is in the end. We also gave a presentation here during which we discussed the similarities, but most of all the differences between our exoskeleton and the iron man suit. It was a very successful and interesting afternoon!
Alumni Lustrum Event
On the 9th of June, in honor of the 175th anniversary of the Delft University of Technology, the Technology for Life Symposium took place. This symposium was especially organized for alumni of the university to inform them of everything that is happening here at the moment. We also got the chance to share our story with them, which was really interesting!
 
Naturalis After Dark x TU Delft
On the 1st of June the Naturalis After Dark event took place on location for the first time, namely at the Delft University of Technology! This is a live science talkshow, during which different speakers gave a presentation about the theme 'How to save the world with technology'. We participated here in a short interview and we introduced the visitors to the technology of exoskeletons by means of the MARCH I!
Introducing: team ankle
Now that the knee and hip joints of the exoskeleton are taking more and more shape, it is time to start focussing on the last part of the exoskeleton: the ankles. In order to do so, a new department was established again, consisting of team members of the HMI department and the joint department. Last month they made the first important choices and soon they will finish the design of the ankles!
 
Joint assembly
The first iteration of the homemade joint design came in last week, after which we immediately started to assembly all separate components. This means that we also started with the testing of this first joint. The results can subsequently be used for the optimization of the second iteration, which will go into production coming month and will form the final version of the joints.
Detailed engineering frame
The frame department also made a lot of progress this month. The detailed engineering of the design of the frame is currently under way and by using CATIA it is possible to incorporate all these details in the design. In this way it is possible to determine the right positioning of all components. Together with the Electrical Department all electronics and all wiring are being included in the design. Also the connections between the bones and the joints are being designed. In this way a design of the exoskeleton as a whole is being developed. Coming week the definitive design of the complete frame will be finished.
 
Power Distribution Board
Last week the Power Distribution Board (PDB) went into production. The PDB has the ability to connect to the battery of the exoskeleton and distribute the power to both the four joint motors and the electronics. It includes safety features such as an emergency switch, which can be controlled by an external button that connects to the board (black connector on the right). Moreover, the PDB is fitted with multiple sensors that monitor the power system, such as temperature, battery voltage and power usage of the motors. These are useful to check if the exoskeleton is properly functioning and also gives us valuable data during operation.
Start programming walking patterns
The Software & Control departments has started with the High-Level concept of the MARCH II in the meantime. This includes the different walking patterns and actions the exoskeleton should be able to execute once Ruben will walk in it. In this way they will make sure the MARCH II is able to receive and send out the right signals to execute the right actions subsequently.
 
Input device
Also the design of the input design is almost finished. This is the responsibility of the Human Machine Interaction department. The idea is that the pilot controls the exoskeleton via the handle of the crutch. By placing the input device in the crutch, the pilot is always able to control the exoskeleton in a safe way. Furthermore, you see a "big hole" in the model, which is meant for the screen. On this screen it can be seen very clearly from which actions the pilot can choose to execute, such as standing up, climbing a stairs or go down. At this moment they are working on the software for this screen. 

 
Did you know...
... we have already used 15.600 Post-its with a value of €262,48? This comes down to 1.68 eurocents per sticky!
... the motors in the MARCH II have a combined maximum power output of 8 hp (horsepower)?
... you can blow up a motor when only putting 30% of the maximum allowable amount of power trough it? We didn't.

Newsletter May 2017

Newsletter May 2017

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Documentary 'Sta Op en Loop'
Yesterday the documentary 'Sta Op en Loop' was broadcasted at NPO2. In this documentary the story of Claudia is told, who learns to walk again by means of an exoskeleton and starts a collaboration with the first team of Project MARCH to realize her dream even more. Together they start training for the Cybathlon, the first bionic 'Olympics'. But despite the ambitions and the dedication of everybody the reality seems to be tougher than expected. However, this somewhat cumbersome start forms the base of a very promising future. In case you missed the documentary, you can watch it here! (Note: the documentary is in Dutch)
 
Pauw
On the occasion of the documentary, Claudia was present during Pauw at Friday the 28th of April together with Nick, the Chief Engineer of the team of last year. Here they talked about the documentary, exoskeletons in general and the collaboration between Project MARCH and Claudia. In case you missed it, you can watch the fragment here
 
RoboBusiness Europe
From the 19th until the 21th of April RoboBusiness Europe took place in the World Forum the Hague. This is one of the biggest international robotics fairs in the world. Project MARCH had a stand here too for all three days thanks to RoboValley and here we were able to introduce a lot of people to our exoskeleton. Even prince Constantijn visited our stand during this event! 
 
Ruben starts training
Something else we started with last month is building all six obstacles we want to overcome at the end of the year with the MARCH II and Ruben as the pilot. In the meantime the slope is finished completely and this obstacle is already delivered in Nijmegen, so that Ruben can start training with it in advance with his ReWalk. In that way he can include the different obstacles in his standard walking routines, so that he can already get used to the track. Since Ruben thinks the slope is the most challenging obstacle, we placed this one in Nijmegen first. The other obstacles will be completed this month and after that they will also be brought to Ruben!

 
Dwarlaesie Organisatie Nederland
At the 8th of April we were present at the DON-dag, which is a day full of workshops and presentations organized by the national organization for paraplegics in the Netherlands together with rehabilitation center Adelante. Here we presented our exoskeleton to a lot of people who have a spinal cord injury themselves and they learned us to move around in a wheelchair in turn, which wasn't as easy as we expected... It was really interesting to meet a lot of people on whose life an exoskeleton can have a large impact. 

PCB Layout Workshop
As the custom electronics get more complex in design, so does the implementation. A great amount of skill is required to properly layout a custom PCB. Henk is a PCB Layout Lead Engineer at Sintecs, one of our partners, and he specializes in layouts and routing of advanced PCBs. Last week, he was at our workshop for an entire day to teach us all the ins and outs of PCB layouting. The four of our Electrical Engineers eagerly absorbed all information that was presented that day, which was of incredible help for a proper PCB design. 

Did you know...
... we will participate together with Ruben in the Wings for Life Run in Breda at the 7th of May, of which all registration fees will go to spinal cord injury research?
... we are also extending our new website? You can take a
look already!
... we already started with the interviews of the application procedure for the core team for next year?
Coming month
Coming month a lot of big steps will be taken with regard to the building process. The joints went into production in the meantime, it is now possible to control the motors by means of one central computer and the points of support of the frame are being optimized with feedback of Ruben. We will also go on a teamweekend to keep the team spirit high.

Newsletter April 2017

Newsletter April 2017

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Design presentation
On Friday the 24th of March it was finally time: during our crowded design presentation we presented the new design for the first time. Furthermore, the State Secretary of Health, Welfare and Sport, Martin van Rijn, was present. He talked on stage with Ruben, the pilot of this year, and this resulted in an interesting conversation about insurances and the future perspective of exoskeletons in healthcare amongst other things. It was a very succesful evening and we want to thank everybody who was present during our presentation. In case you missed it, you can watch the whole design presentation back here!

Professors in the Theater Arena
On the 28th of March we were present with some team members during 'Professors in the Theater Arena' at Theater de Veste. During this event three professors participate in a debate about a current theme in the field of science. This time, the theme was 'The bionic human, from protheses to upgrades'. Since we match this theme pretty well as Project MARCH, we were invited to be present with the MARCH I and to give a small presentation to the public ourselves. It was a very interesting evening, during which we gained some new knowledge ourselves.
 
Feedback system
This month a lot of progress is made with regard to the feedback system. The feedback system makes sure the paraplegic that walks in the exoskeleton knows where his feet are located. He needs this feedback, since he cannot feel this himself. It was chosen to have a feedback system that makes use of vibrations on the body. In order to do so, small pressure sensors are placed under the shoe soles. When the pilot places his foot on the ground and hereby exerts pressure on the sensors, he will feel a vibration that is communicated via special components placed on his fully functional upper body.

Joint design
Another point of focus this month was the designing of the joint of the exoskeleton. Much attention is paid to the compactness of the design: we want to make the joint as compact as possible. Furthermore, a high force transmission is required in order to be able to move the exoskeleton together with the pilot and to lift the toal weight. To realize this, it was chosen to make use of a
Harmonic Drive. At this moment we are working hard on the construction drawings of the joint, so that the production of this component can officially start! 
 
Tests bone structure
In order to be sure the bones of the exoskeleton will be stiff enough and thus are able to carry all the weight when a person is actually walking in the exoskeleton and a lot of forces are being exerted on the bone structure, some tests are being executed first by using an external weight and two different types of aluminium bones. These two types of bones consist of a commercial produced bone and a self-produced one. By hanging different weights on these bones, the stiffness of the bone structure can be determined, just as the effect of the structure itself on this stiffness.


 
Motor
Last month we worked hard on the motor. The motor is now able to rotate to a specific angle by means of rotate commands. By connecting more of these motors the exeskeleton will be able to perform the human gait. Furthermore, another less useful function was added: the motor is now also able to sing songs when he is runned on the right frequency of certain notes. The next step will be to make it possible to send the rotate commands via the communication lines, that will be present in the exoskeleton, so that all motors can be managed by one central computer.

Input device
The input device is the system which makes it possible for the pilot to really control the exoskeleton. With this the pilot can specify what kind of action he want to perform with the exoskeleton. For additional user friendliness the input device will be placed in one of the crutch handles and it will be controlled by means of two different buttons. To determine the ideal shape of the handle and the ideal placement of the buttons on the handle, different models are used, digitally and physically. Therefore, a prototype of the handle was produced out of clay and another prototype has been printed by means of a 3D printer for example.

Did you know...
... the walls of the working space were painted MARCH blue last weekend?
... the team members of the Software & Control department themselves sometimes think it is called the Systems & Control department?
... you can earn a digital taco when you did a nice job for the team? We give out these tacos as a reward and we keep an eye on the leaderboard all the time!
Coming month
This month we will officially start the building process of our exoskeleton. Besides, a lot of tests will be performed to optimize the design. Furthermore, we will be present during a lot of events, including RoboBusiness Europe, the International Robotics Week.