An ExoArm For The Elderly

Prosthetic and assistive technologies have come have come a long way in recent years. When there are not only major medical research organizations, but individuals getting on board designing tools to improve the lives of others? That’s something special. Enter a homebrew essay into this field: ExoArm.

Attached to the body via what was available — in this case, the support harness for a gas-powered weed-eater — which distributes the load across the upper body and an Arduino for a brain, ExoArm designer [Kristjan Berce] has since faced roadblocks with muscle sensors meant to enable more instinctive control. So — for now — functionality is limited to a simple up and down motion controlled by two switches. It is worth noting that the down switch is currently mounted in such a way that when the user moves their arm down, the ExoArm follows suit, so there is some natural feel to using the arm in its present iteration.

Developed with the elderly — and others who need a boost to physical strength to live a normal life — in mind, this prototype is able to curl up to 10kg in excess of its own weight. Presently, the only motor is on the elbow joint — granting a basic range of motion — with one adapted to the shoulder joint forthcoming! And, costing only $100, it’s a heck of a start.

We’ve featured some impressive individual forays into hackers helping others, humans and animals alike!

10 thoughts on “An ExoArm For The Elderly

  1. HaD Title: “An ExoArm For The Elderly”

    Check your Ageism James Hobson!

    The ExoArm can benefit anyone of ANY age that needs limb-movement assistance. Statistically, the ExoArm may find more take-up for Elderly users, but just because an older person is “old”, it doesn’t mean a general purpose assistance device like the ExoArm is “specifically” for old people!

    Actually, a young person who benefits from the ExoArm will reap FAR more benefit from the ExoArm over time in terms of added improved quality-of-life years versus an “elderly” person, a very real metric when evaluating the cost/benefit of such devices.

    1. Clarification: The Author of the project also refers to “A cheap Exoskeleton Arm (ExoArm), that will help elderly, disabled people and workers complete everyday tasks with less exhaustion.”

      Reference to the “elderly” is inappropriate in my opinion, and should have been corrected in the HaD post, as well as HaD recommending the Author change the subtitle of his project to be more inclusive.

    2. it could well be used by an elderly person, and seems to have been designed with that in mind. What is wrong with that? What is wrong with saying that? political correctness gone mad!.

      1. @ gerry-attrick, you said, “it could well be used by an elderly person, and seems to have been designed with that in mind. What is wrong with that?”

        What I said is exactly what’s wrong with that. And I’m the LEAST “Politically Correct” brain-washed person you’ll ever meet – trust me.

  2. Old people have a problem with falling over due to both weakness and balance problems, therefore adding any weight load to their body needs to be done so very carefully.

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