The ASTM International Exoskeleton Technology Center of Excellence (ET CoE) and Committee F48 on Exoskeletons and Exosuits have created a student paper competition with a total of $1,500 cash prizes distributed to the first and second place winners and travel costs to attend the F48 face-to-face meeting to present their papers. The theme is “Designing Safe Exoskeletons and Exosuits” and the competition will run through June 19, 2020. The competition is open to both full-time and part-time students in associate, undergraduate, graduate or higher education programs.
In addition to the cash and travel expenses prizes the winning papers will be presented to the entirety of F48 which currently stands at over 150 members and of course, bragging rights. As of yet, there are still few exoskeleton, exosuit, and wearable robotics competitions (see our coverage of the Cybathlon, WearRA Innovation Challenge, Collegiate Exoskeleton Competition, and Toyota Mobility Challenge here). There are even fewer ones where students and academic teams aren’t competing with commercial entities. This levels the playing field by making the competition accessible only to students.
Furthermore, exoskeleton research is relatively expensive. Hardware components have to be manufactured and fitted to the human body, which creates an additional barrier to both students and enthusiasts alike. With COVID-19 entering the world stage and closing many labs and universities, students no longer have access to said hardware. The ASTM ET CoE/F48 Student Paper Award is an additional outlet for students to express their creativity and personal point of view on designing safe exos.
Suggested topic ideas, taken directly from the ET CoE website:
Existing exoskeleton systems require a period of adaptation by the end user. For a new user, task performance is not likely to reach a steady state immediately. How do we account for familiarization and learning effects, and hence, what are acceptable test durations?
How do we better understand and quantify the cognitive demands involved with using exoskeletons?
How does fit affect performance?
What are the potential positive and/or adverse consequences of prolonged use of exoskeletons?
How do we characterize the critical dimensions of adjustability in exoskeleton designs to allow them to be applicable to and effective for use in a range of tasks, and to ensure fit, comfort, and usability for a broad set of users?
What are the important factors driving the adoption and use of exoskeletons in diverse sectors, in particular to identify key facilitators and barriers?
What are some innovative designs that accommodate safe use?
·How can exoskeletons be integrated into an automated facility or environment such as one that has co-bots?
For more information on the competition and where to submit proposals visit the official ET CoE Website: ASTM COMMITTEE F48 & EXO TECHNOLOGY CENTER OF EXCELLENCE BEST STUDENT PAPER AWARD, April 13, 2020, https://www.etcoe.org/student-competition/f48-student-paper-award
Best of luck to all who apply!