Titan Arm: A Powered, Upper Body Exoskeleton

August 2012 - May 2013

Titan is a powered, upper body exoskeleton for use in physical therapy and assisted lifting scenarios. Our suit is unique with its light-weight size (18 lbs.), non-localized cable drive actuation, and completely tetherless approach. The suit can add 40 lbs. curling capability to existing muscle capacity and a ratchet-based braking system allows for sustained load bearing. Range of motion and motor effort data is sent in real-time off board and can be packaged for use by doctors and physicians.

I developed the electronics and programming sub-systems of the project. The suit is controlled by a BeagleBone microcontroller, which communicates directly with an Atmel- based microcontroller for low level control of sensors and the motor. Two 2.4 A-h LiPo batteries power the suit, with expectations of over 8 hours of continuous use time. A remote governs the rotational motion and ratchet brake of the arm, feeding into a basic velocity control loop. Finally, a motor driver applies up to 42V across the motor to achieve the desired velocity.

More information: TitanArm.com

Aspects: Need finding, circuit design, sensor debugging, Python, Matlab, wireless communications

Team Members: Elizabeth Beattie, Nicholas Parrotta, Nikolay Vladimirov

Awards: 1st Place - James Dyson Award · 1st Place - Cornell Cup · 2nd Place - Penn All Engineering · Overall Excellence - Penn MEAM · First runner up - NIH DEBUT Bronze Award - James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation ·

Recognition: BBC · Wired · Philadelphia Inquirer · Wall Street Journal · Washington Post · Discovery Channel · Engadget · Gizmodo