The ASTM International Exo Technology Center of Excellence (ET CoE) has opened up its doors to research project proposals that can lead to the creation or improvement of exoskeleton, exosuit, or wearable robotics standards. The expectation is for equally funding three awards for a total budget of up to $102,000. Projects are not expected to exceed nine months in duration. Applications will be in the form of a “Request for Proposals” or “RFP” for short.
“‘The Exo Technology Center of Excellence is committed to bringing the exo community together to accelerate standards,’ according to Bill Billotte, Ph.D., ASTM International’s director of global exo technology programs. ‘This RFP will help pave the way for our research to standards efforts.’”
The expectation is for the RFP to be Research to Standards. They have to be based on current needs within the exoskeleton industry rather than perceived future ones. The RFP can be used to:
- advance new standards
- revise existing standards
- address lagging work items*
* At the time of this press release, the following work items have been identified as needing research support: WK65587 Assessing System Training, WK65346 Safety Considerations in Designing and Selecting Exoskeletons for Industrial, Medical and Military Applications and WK68929 Ergonomics of the Exoskeleton/Exosuit System
Copying directly from the press release, at this time, the ASTM International ET CoE is looking for proposals related to:
- How do we design-in safety to exo technologies and promote safe practices across the community?
- How do we objectively measure the performance, safety, and reliability of exo technologies?
- How do we determine the proper fit of the technology to the user and task?
- What process do we use to determine where to employ exo technologies?
- How does the community recycle the data, lessons learned, and innovations into the next generation of exo technologies?
- How does the community bring down the barriers through business models/support channels to allow more people/organizations to trial and implement the devices?
The ET CoE has published a sizable and detailed page on its website that explains the entire submission process: https://www.etcoe.org/proposal-submission
“Applicants are requested to submit whitepapers to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject header ‘ASTM ET CoE Research to Standards RFP: name of applicant/organization’ no later than 5:00 p.m. (EST) May 15, 2020… ASTM strongly encourages applicants interested in submitting proposals to make preliminary inquiries as to the general need for the type of research effort contemplated… Inquiries and questions must be received in writing by email no later than 1 May at 5:00 p.m. (EST) to be considered.”
Questions and Answers:
What is the ET CoE?
“The ASTM International Exo Technology Center of Excellence was formed in 2019 to pursue safe and reliable exo technologies for all of humanity. The center brings together a diverse group of users, suppliers, researchers, and stakeholders across academia, government, healthcare, and other industries and builds on the growth of ASTM’s exoskeletons and exosuits committee (F48). For more information on the committee, watch this video.”
In other words, the ET CoE works in parallel with ASTM International Committee F48 on Exoskeletons and Exosuits.
Is the Exoskeleton Report connected to the ET CoE?
Yes. For more information, you can read the original press release from Oct 2019 here.
Do you have any advice for those wanting to apply?
The following are the views of the author and do not represent those of ASTM International, or the ET CoE:
- Don’t just think about applying, do it. Use the time before May 1st as a “sounding board” for your idea(s).
- You can be outside of the United States to apply (within certain limitations). This is an excellent opportunity to contribute remotely towards the proliferation and acceptance of exoskeleton technology.
- Ideas for new research that you have not yet executed but are aligned with your interests, skill set, capabilities or prior work will likely have the highest chance of success.
- You do not have to have applied to the ET CoE last year to submit a proposal. Teams/organizations that have applied to the previous request for proposals, those that wanted to but didn’t and those who are discovering the ET CoE for the first time now will all be on equal footing.
- Try to have fun.
Exo Technology Center of Excellence Launches Research to Standards Funding Round Totaling $102K, News Release #11005, ASTM International, March 30, 2020, https://www.astm.org/cms/drupal-7.51/newsroom/exo-technology-center-excellence-launches-research-standards-funding-round-totaling-102k
Request for Proposals, ASTM International ET CoE, March 27, 2020, https://www.etcoe.org/proposal-submission