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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.