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.
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.