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Alice Open Source Exoskeleton 2020 Update

Arguably the first Child-Focused and Open Source Lower-Limb Exoskeleton designed in France and México, for the world.

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Following years of dedicated research and development, approximately $60,000.00 USD invested by both private and public partners, and a strong conviction for creating open technology which pushed current boundaries while reaching the public, this exoskeleton’s design in now available for use by anyone under the Attribution Non-Commercial CC License (CC BY-NC).

Alice addresses manufacturing, material and cost restrictions specifically encountered in Latin America and other developing countries, promoting successful exoskeleton deployment within budget-restricted communities.

Furthermore, the exoskeleton proposes a specialized combination of hardwaresoftware and operation conditions focused on reducing complexity while achieving the minimum required functionality for previously-unattended patients.


Her Clinical Validation

ALICE has successfully been deployed with patients exhibiting different medical conditions and covering a diversity of socio-economic backgrounds primarily in Monterrey, México.

A total of 12 pediatric subjects have participated in short-term clinical usage which has proved beneficial in improving patient psychology as well as due to potential positive impacts in blood circulation and internal organ functioning.

Conditions exhibited by users included Muscular Dystrophy (MD), Cerebral Palsy (CP), Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), and Cephalic Disorder (CD).


Mechanics:
The system features only 4 DOFs powered by automotive DC 26Nm actuators as well as a significant portion of parts manufactured on PLA and commercial 3D-Printing composites.

Programming:
Motion is achieved through simplified PID controllers designed and implemented over low-cost electronics and in conjunction with non-specialized actuators + basic potentiometer-based feedback. Controllers are designed to counter actuator nonlinearities through customized filtering, anti-windup algorithms, and static friction compensations.

Operation Layout:
ALICE operates using a decentralized layout where the power source and system operation modules are separated from the exoskeleton. Standard automotive 12V Lithium / Lead batteries and a PC or Mac running Arduino IDE are enough to successfully operate the exoskeleton in safety-compliant clinical contexts.


Patents:

1. (2019, China) CN201930193288.2 Electromechanical Structure for Pediatric Mobility.

2. (2019, México) MX/f/2019/000922 Estructura electromecánica para movilidad pediátrica.

A basic model of ALICE can be constructed with a material budget of ~1,500 EUR.

ALICE OSE 2020 Render 3. may 2020.JPG

Render showing the assembly of the lower part of the legs in Alice's 2020 version.

JPEG Image - 596.25 kB - 01/10/2021 at 12:57

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1.2 ALICE OSE 2020 Leg Structure Manufacturing Sheet. oct 2020.JPG

Mechanical sketch for the manual construction of the lower-leg aluminum profiles used to build Alice in its 2020 version. Right and Left leg are identical.

JPEG Image - 119.82 kB - 01/10/2021 at 12:55

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(DEC2018) AliceOnyx - Adaptador Braces.STL

Sample mechanical part to be constructed in Nylon+CF or ABS+CF composite filament. In the 2018 model, this component served as a connection point between the ergonomic brace holding the users' legs and the aluminum profile comprising the exoskeleton's leg.

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 191.98 kB - 01/10/2021 at 12:53

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(DEC2018) AliceOnyx - Tapa_RodillaIzq.STL

Sample mechanical part to be constructed in Nylon+CF or ABS+CF composite filament. This part mates opposite to "AliceOnyx - Efector_Fijo..." to ensure the lower part of the leg moves without going out of its intended position as the moving part of the DC motor rotates.

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 57.11 kB - 01/10/2021 at 12:52

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(DEC2018) AliceOnyx - Efector_Fijo_Rodilla_Izq.STL

Sample mechanical part to be constructed in Nylon+CF or ABS+CF composite filament. This part connects the fixed part of the DC motor with the upper part of the leg, which corresponds to an aluminum profile.

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 216.78 kB - 01/10/2021 at 12:52

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  • 1 × ABS+CF 3D-Printing Filament (Nanovia)
  • 1 × White PLA 3D-Printing Filament (ColorFabb)
  • 1 × 26Nm 12V DC Motor 226-3005 (AM Equipment)
  • 1 × Mega 2560 R3 Microcontroller (Arduino)
  • 1 × G2 High-Power Motor Driver 18v17 (Pololu)

View all 10 components

  • Clinical Success and our Golden Pilot.

    Jesús Tamez-Duque9 hours ago 0 comments

    Our pilot was born with Muscular Dystrophy and unable to move his legs. This forced him to depend on wheelchairs and brought additional complications spanning body and mind. Unable to walk on his own, independence became something unusual for him.

    In 2018, his grandmother heard of our project but our exoskeleton was not ready for him. We asked them to wait so we could be sure that Alice would be safe enough for him to wear. His grandmother was patient -yet insistent- and wrote back to us every month for the next ~12 months. After about a year of testing, detailing, and getting the appropriate clinical permissions, we were finally able to give them some good news.

    In 2019, he made a first attempt at standing up and walking with the help of Alice, but he didn’t manage to do it. On his second try the day after, however, he was finally able to stand, walk, and wave for a photo without the help of anyone else.

    This was an important day for the team, because we proved that Alice could indeed support children with high disability and up to 50kg + ~1.4m… but it was way more important because it made us feel that what we were doing could actually achieve something significant for others. He was one of 10 children who participated within our first user tests.

  • We are back !

    Jesús Tamez-Duque01/05/2021 at 17:46 0 comments

    Since the last post, a lot has happened. We have moved from the early prototype we showed you in PLA to a still-simple but patient-compliant clinical device; and we definitely want to keep sharing it in Open Source with you !

    During this time, we have created new designs, new codes, and new electronic / mechanical combinations which have made it possible to even test a couple of prototypes in hospitals so we can now say that Alice has been validated with patients. We have also been working on creating and growing an Open Source program to help more people make their own exoskeletons. You can also bet we have been drinking lots of coffee during the whole process.

    We know it has taken us a while but we can finally sit down and write about it, so we will soon be uploading more posts to tell you some of things that happened during this process and to share all of the details you need to know to make your own patient-validated exoskeleton.

    Stay tuned, we will be trying to make a new post every week !

    PS: Here’s a sneak peak of the use of Alice with patients.

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Laurent C wrote 5 hours ago point

Really fabulous, what a hope to be able to move to where you want. The world of "iron man" is near...

  Are you sure? yes | no

Laurent C wrote 5 hours ago point

Really fabulous, what a hope to be able to move to where you want. The world of "iron man" is near ...   

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dan Maloney wrote 01/04/2021 at 23:13 point

That's both tragic and beautiful. Very exciting to see what can be accomplished with hobbyidt-grade tools and materials. Well done!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jesús Tamez-Duque wrote 01/05/2021 at 16:50 point

Thanks, @Dan Maloney! Indeed, we're really happy to be able to actually help patients using materials which are available to a larger range of people. Stay tuned as we will soon add more details about the prototyping and construction process :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

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