Today, we will talk about some parts that have been created by the frame department. They worked very hard in the past days and we can tell you that all the components are finished and that the ‘bones’ have already been assembled in the exoskeleton. We would like to tell you more about the fixtures today.
The fixtures are the connections between the pilot and exoskeleton and hold the pilot in position in the exoskeleton. It is important that the fixtures fit perfectly to the skin and do not damage the skin. Somebody with a spinal cord injury cannot tell if the fixtures are too tight or squeeze somewhere. If the fixtures would do this and the pilot gets wounded, that wound would take a very long time to heal due to the decreased blood circulation of people that need to sit all day.
Some of the fixtures carry a lot of weight and others have the function to guide Ruben's legs while he is moving. The fixtures under the knee will carry the heaviest weight and must therefore be very strong and rigid. It is also important that you can open the fixture so that Ruben can go in and out the exoskeleton properly. The first image shows this aluminum fixture that we produced in-house. By pulling out the pen (indicated with red) and releasing the two screws, this fixture can flip open. The two screws are a safety measure to assure that the fixtures cannot open spontaneously during walking.
The fixtures that carry less weight are not made of aluminum but fabric. These are custom-made with the sewing machine. We also added padding so that these fittings are softer and fit the skin well. Thanks to these custom-made fixtures, we are well prepared to start the training program with Ruben.