Exoskeleton Muscles Powered By Hydrogen

The idea of building a suit that increases the wearer’s strength is a compelling one, often featured in science fiction. There are a handful of real world examples, and [Alex] can now add his to the list. The build comes with a twist however, relying on hydrogen to do the work.

At its heart, the build is not dissimilar to other artificial muscle projects. The muscles in [Alex’s] build consist of a rubber tube inside a nylon braid. When the rubber tube is inflated, it expands, causing the nylon braid to shorten as it grows wider. Commonly, such builds rely on compressed air to power the muscles, however [Alex] took a different path. Instead, water is electrolysed in a chamber designed to look like Iron Man’s arc reactor, with the resulting gases produced being used to drive the muscles. With five muscles ganged up to pull together, the wearable arm support is capable of generating up to 15 kg of pull force.

It’s a design that has a few benefits; the electrolyser has no moving parts, and is much simpler and quieter than a typical air compressor. Obviously, there is a risk of fire thanks to the flammable gases used, but [Alex] explains the precautions taken to minimise this risk in the video.

Exosuits may not be mainstream just yet, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t working to make them a reality. We’ve featured a few before, like this open-source design. Video after the break.

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This Iron Man Suit Is A Hacker’s Dream Come True

[Techmaster], like probably a lot of us, was hugely inspired by the engineering wonder that is the Iron Man suit. So, like any good maker, he decided to build his own. [Techmaster’s] social media pages are filled with promotional videos that are sure to get you excited for your next Comic-Con (when you can go in-person of course).

It’s difficult to summarize all the work [Techmaster] has put into his suit in a single post, so we’ll let his social media pages do the talking. From the knuckle launcher to the repulsor and the beloved Arc rector, [Techmaster] is really putting together an impressive set. Now, we’ve seen our fair share of Iron Man-inspired projects here on Hackaday, but [Techmaster’s] designs might be the closest attempt to a full suit with the projectiles to match.

[Techmaster’s] goal is to develop the most realistic Iron Man suit ever, well..other than the original we suppose. Given the dynamic nature of his development process, there aren’t any DIY instructions for the rest of us to follow as of yet (though he does host live streams), so you’ll have to piece together design ideas from his promotional videos.

[Techmaster] might be living the dream a lot of us wish were our realities and we certainly can’t wait to see an official version 1 release. Feel free to support his development if you feel so inclined.

Iron Man Puts Yet Another Hacker Up In Arms

When Iron Man movie came out, we’d bet there wasn’t a single hacker that left the theater without daydreaming about having a few robotic lab assistants of their own. But unlike most of them, [Tony-Lin] decided to turn his celluloid dreams into a reality and started work on his robotic arm, Abot.

Abot is built from a combination of 5 mm nylon panels and 3D printed parts. One thing we found particularly interesting about this build is that the motor reductions for the joints are done using stages of pulleys and GT2 belting rather than planetary gear boxes or cycloidal drives. This produces a lightweight and affordable build.

He also designed his own driver boards for each motor using the STM32. They communicate with a CAN bus which uses USB connectors, an interesting choice. Just make sure not to try and charge your phone with it.

We have to admit to a little jealousy that [Tony] is moved himself a bit closer to being Tony Stark than the rest of us are likely to get. We’ll just have to live vicariously through the documentation of his project.

Robot Uses Iron Man Tech To Walk

Designing a bi-pedal robot is a relatively straight forward task, given the array of tools that we now have at our disposal. There are many open source examples out there for anyone to get started. Designing one that doesn’t fall over a lot… well that’s not so simple. This is because when we walk our center of balance is constantly shifting, so during our adolescence we learn to shift our body weight around to maintain a stable center of balance. By the time we hit our mid-teens most of us have mastered the art of walking, and can maintain stability even through intense movements such as seen in many sports.

The question is of course, how does one convey this type of learning into a bi-pedal robot? It’s not easy to say the least. Take a look at what the robotics team over at Guangdong University of Technology’s School of Automation in China are doing. They’ve strapped a pair of ducted fan jet engines to the feet of a bi-pedal setup. What this does is allow the robot to maintain its center of balance over a large distance. Generally we see bi-pedal robots “tip toe over egg shells” because they need to keep the center of balance as stable as possible. By applying a thrusting force that comes out of the foot; they’re able to maintain center of gravity even though the robot is extended well beyond its normal range of motion.

Be sure to check out the video below for an excellent demonstration. Sometimes Hollywood does hackers a great service by giving us some inspiration!

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Iron Man Mask With A HUD!

At some point, a child will inevitably dream of being a superhero. Not all children get the chance to see that dream made manifest, but a few take that destiny into their own hands. Redditor [Lord_of_Bone] — seizing at that goal — has built himself an Iron Man mask with an integrated HUD!

Relying on a conceptually similar project he’d previously built, much of the code was rehashed for this ‘Mark II’ version. Pieces of a smartphone holo pyramid act as projection surfaces — using a lens to focus the image to be viewed at such close distances — and a pair of OLED screens displaying the information. It’s a happy bonus that the lack of backlight results in only the text showing in the user’s field of view.

Instead of speaking with J.A.R.V.I.S., [Lord_of_Bone] is using a Raspberry Pi Zero W as the mask’s brain. Working past some I2C troubles between the OLED screens and an Enviro pHat required a whipped-up veroboard and a bit of hardware hacking. Cramming everything into the mask was no easy task — using Blutack and Sugru to bind them in the limited space — but the pHat had to be surface-mounted in the open anyways for atmospheric and light data.

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Daedalus Jet Suit Takes To The Skies

[Richard Browning] wants to fly like Daedalus. To us, it looks a bit more like Iron Man. [Browning] is working on project Daedalus, a flight suit powered by six jet engines. These turbines are exactly the type one would find on large, fast, and expensive R/C planes. Some of this is documented on his YouTube channel, Gravity Industries, though RedBull has also gotten involved and have a video of their own that you can check out after the break.

The project started last year in [Browning’s] garage. He strapped a jet to an old washing machine to test its thrust. The jet nearly flipped the machine over, so he knew he would have enough power to fly. The suit started with a turbine strapped to each arm. Then it became two on each arm. This was enough for moonlike hops, but not enough for actual flight. Strapping an engine to each leg worked but was rather hard to control. The current configuration features two turbines per arm, and two on a backpack.

The whole setup is quite similar to [Frank Zapata]’s Flyboard Air, with one key difference – [Browning] is supporting two thirds of his weight with his hands. The effect is similar to supporting oneself on gymnastic rings, which is part of his extreme physical training regimen.

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Iron Man, In IRON!

Sometimes a project comes our way which has so much information contained in it as to be overwhelming, and on which it is difficult to know where to start. A good example is [Barry Armstead]’s Iron Man suit, to which we were introduced through a very long forum thread that spans several years.

Home-made armour is a staple of the cosplay world, with many astoundingly good creations being produced by fans. What makes [Barry]’s Iron Man suit stand out from the crowd is its construction; instead of fiberglass or vacuum-formed plastic he’s used real metal. (It’s steel. But steel contains iron, right? We’re calling poetic license.)

The best place to follow progress on the suit is probably [Barry]’s YouTube feed, in which he has so far racked up 44 build logs. We see joint articulation tests, early test walks, the iconic helmet taking shape, and the repulsor simulated with a nano sprayer. With so many videos to watch, you’ll be there quite a while. The one we’ll leave you with below the break is fairly straightforward, the first look at the entire exoskeleton in bare metal.

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