STARX was started in the Spring of 2015 by students at the University of Michigan's College of Engineering with the goal of designing and building a powered exoskeleton which could augment the strength of a healthy adult. To accomplish this, our high-level plan is to first design a strength-augmenting upper-body exoskeleton, then design a load-bearing leg exoskeleton, and finally integrate the two into a full suit. We are currently a team of approximately 15 students from a multitude of engineering disciplines.
From left to right: Kevin Rabideau, Niraj Patel, Anne Gu
Over the 2015-2016 academic year STARX has completed a prototype for the upper-body exoskeleton called SAM-E. Using muscle signals from EMG sensors, it adds a proportional torque to the elbow, giving the user greater lifting strength in their arm.
Over the 2016-2017 academic year we developed a prototype for a load-bearing exoskeleton. This device transfers a load of up to 100 lbs off of the person and into the ground so they do not feel the weight.
Over the 2017-2018 academic year we refined our design of the load-bearing LEXO exoskeleton, adding damper gearboxes and actuating more joints. We also began design work for an updated version of SAM-E that uses air muscles for actuation.
Our goal for the 2018-2019 academic year is to finish manufacturing and integrating the updated SAM-E by midway through the year while also enhancing LEXO with a specific focus on the electronics and programming.