L.E.L.A. project

 

Lightweight Exoskeleton Limb Anthropomorphic: 

 

The project collects results of ten years research across fields of software engineering, design and manufacturing processes. Intended as a research project of the system applicability in the realm of soft-robotics, the project explores the potential of the technology to model free-form tensegrity systems and to manipulate them, showing tangible results of a lightweight system, actuated and programmed to simulate complex human gestures like shaking the hand. 

The technology used -based in tensegrity principle- is here employed to give form to an actuated lightweight arm resembling a human arm. Based in an unprecedented application of tensegrity system, fundamental principles of nature display how forces of tension and compression intertwined materializing a minimal structural system. Because their lightweight, flexibility, transportability, minimal use of material and energy, this systems embrace a future of sustainable systems in terms of production cost and environmental compatibility.

The actuated structural system appears hollow at its interior, containing the whole structural system in the superficial skin, acting like a structural skin. The appearance is of a hollow silicone body barely 1 mm thick, with no internal support. The body manifests an intrinsic rigidity in its static state. Plugged motors manipulate strips’ elements, interiorly to the skin, to actuate the whole system and to achieve the intended geometry transformation and the simulation of the movement. Multiple motors plugged into the structural skin, deform differently the skin to achieve the motion of the whole system.  Motors are design to be elements plug&play. The body shows itself capable to perform complex motions similarly to an anthropomorphic arm. 

The overall system is composed of 10 distinct strips of casted silicone to follow the form of the designed arm. Out of the packaging, the strip originally lays flat, to be later easily assembled into the final configuration of the arm.

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