Learning Software In A Soft Exosuit

Wearables and robots don’t often intersect, because most robots rely on rigid bodies and programming while we don’t. Exoskeletons are an instance where robots interact with our bodies, and a soft exosuit is even closer to our physiology. Machine learning is closer to our minds than a simple state machine. The combination of machine learning software and a soft exosuit is a match made in heaven for the Harvard Biodesign Lab and Agile Robotics Lab.

Machine learning studies a walker’s steady gait for twenty periods while vitals are monitored to assess how much energy is being expended. After watching, the taught machine assists instead of assessing. This type of personalization has been done in the past, but the addition of machine learning shows that the necessary customization can be programmed into each machine without a team of humans.

Exoskeletons are no stranger to these pages, our 2017 Hackaday Prize gave $1000 to an open-source set of robotic legs and reported on an exoskeleton to keep seniors safe.

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MotorMouth For Future Artificial Humans

When our new computer overlord arrives it’ll likely give orders using an electromagnetic speaker (or more likely, by texting instead of talking). But for a merely artificial human being, shouldn’t we use an artificial mouth with vocal cords chords, nasal cavity, tongue,  teeth and lips? Work on such a thing is scarce these days, but [Martin Riches] developed a delightful one called MotorMouth between 1996 and 1999.

It’s delightful for its use of a Z80 processor and assembly language, things many of us remember fondly, as well as its transparent side panel, allowing us to see the workings in action. As you’ll see and hear in the video below, it works quite well given the extreme difficulty of the task.

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3D printing with a delta robot that seems to simplify the concept

This 3d printing delta robot really seems to solve a lot of the hurdles faced by previous offerings. With other delta printers we’ve looked at the motor control of the three arms is usually a it complicated. On this build the motors can just be seen in this image at each corner under the build platform. Each motor has a belt that loops from the bottom to the top for the machine, driving an arm along two precision rods.

It’s also interesting to note that the printer head doesn’t have a motor mounted on it for feeding the filament. Instead, the motor is mounted remotely. You can see it above the soda can in this image. It feeds the filament through a hollow tube spanning the gap between the extruder and the motor. This acts as a Bowden cable. With less mass to move this may make it easier to control the location of the print head.

After the break you can catch a clip of the team showing off the speed and dexterity of the delta bot, followed by a printing demo.

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