A team of Mechanical Engineering students led by Vimal Govind, a final year student of MES College of Engineering have set benchmark by developing GEN-II Exoskeleton through the repetitive research and experiments which can pioneer the economic production of industrial exoskeletons for manufacturing.
Exoskeleton is a machine which has been seen in Hollywood movies, the prominent one being the movie ‘Avatar’. It is a special man-machine that
makes man a super human with multiple applications and protective gears and support systems. Due to its potential application in real life cases American Defense Research Academy is spending billions on developing this man-machine.
It’s an idea unthinkable to be developed in India because of the huge cost associated with its research. However, a team of Mechanical Engineering students of MES College of Engineering, Kuttippuram, achieved it through the repetitive research and experiments under the leadership of Vimal Govind, a final year Degree student of Mechanical Engineering.
The first turning point was a project for an inauguration program in college, which provided the team with better understanding of mechanical feedback and its potential application in Exoskeleton. Soon the team conceptualised and made the prototype GEN-1 Exoskeleton.
It was first presented in MESTECH 2015. The GEN-1 bagged two first prizes at two national level competitions. However, the GEN-1 still was heavy and bulky, and the power it produced was almost consumed for its movements of link itself. Because of which there was not much mechanical advantage.
Further research went into the modification of GEN-1 for better flexibility and efficiency. The desired result was obtained from the application of hydraulics and pneumatics. With the hydraulic and pneumatic feedback, a computer model was developed which is small with mechanical advantage of almost 1:100, which means it requires 300g force to lift 30kg. After completion of simulation and computerized material section, Vimal Govind wrote a paper on this research. He presented the paper at an international conference on mechatronics and manufacturing in Singapore (ICMM 2016), conducted by American Society for Research. Out of the papers presented from 13 countries, it was selected as the best paper and was published in the International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Research (IJMERR).
This exposure helped get the funds for materializing the concept of GEN-II into a reality and advanced GEN-II came up soon.
GEN-II is a man-machine system for material handling by using mechanical feedback. Here the mechanical feedback is a simplest technology which doesn’t require electronic feedback and complex programming techniques which are conventionally provided to control the powered exoskeletons.
Padmakumar K, Asst.Professor, Mechanical Engineering Dept., MES College of Engineering, Kuttippuram opines, “This technology will reduce the fabrication expenses for powered exoskeletons. This will create an economic advantage for the massive production of industrial exoskeletons in the world. Here we used conventional pneumatic and electronic equipments for the development to reduce the total overhead cost of current industrial exoskeleton manufacturing”
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