The first-ever Exo Games will bring together STEM university student teams in a friendly head-to-head competition for wearable technology and ingenuity at the University of Central Lancashire, England. The Exo Games are sponsored by ASTM International’s Exo Technology Center of Excellence (ET CoE), and the first and second-place teams will receive a cash prize.
The ET CoE recognizes the need to create an outlet for STEM students of wearable robotics and human interaction technology to break out from their respective silos in order to connect with peers, academics, and professionals. Students will also gain familiarity with the world of international standards. The test protocols created by ASTM Committee F48 on Exoskeletons and Exosuits will be used to structure the challenges and judging during the competition.
Each student team is expected to complete one exoskeleton for the competition that will be compatible with current off-the-shelf fall protection harnesses. The Exo Games will be divided into four main challenges:
- Main Competition to build and test an exoskeleton device.
- Design Competition to generate a virtual model that may predict the static and dynamic fit of the design.
- Poster Competition to publicize the team’s work and illustrate how the design would be presented to a general audience unfamiliar with wearable technology.
- Presentation Competition in which teams will give a short overview of their design and development process.
If you are curious, there are more detailed specifications for the 2023 Exo Games on the ET CoE LinkedIn page: link.
It is essential for teams that are considering participating in the Exo Games 2023 to communicate their interest to the ET CoE center of excellence (ETCoE@astm.org) as soon as possible.
The Exo Games will not take place without the support of ASTM International and the main organizers: Matthew Dickinson, Senior Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire; William Billotte, Executive Director of Exo Technology Center of Excellence; and Nora Nimmerichter, Manager of Technical Committee Operations.
Historically, exoskeleton technology competitions have been few and far between. The Cybathlon, WearRA Innovation Challenge, and Toyota Mobility Challenge do not exclude student teams, but they could end up competing against companies and professionals. The last Applied College Exoskeleton (ACE) challenge was held in 2022, and there may not be another one for some time. This leaves the Exo Games as a rare opportunity for students to collaborate and learn about this emerging technology within the guides set by the competition.
The Exo Games are built around exposing students to practical and realistic challenges and applications of exoskeleton technology. Simultaneously, the evaluation of the devices will be based on ASTM International standards and work items. Below are the tasks that users of the wearables the teams are designing are expected to perform:
- Mobility challenge: sit-to-stand and walk.
- Transferring a load while simulating additional safety gear (similar to a bomb disposal squad suit or working in a radioactive environment).
- Palletization of boxes, akin to a warehouse and other logistical environments.
- Dexterity test – can the exoskeleton user still perform fine manipulation, or is their attention or fine hand movement impeded by the student design device?
The expectation is for the exoskeleton devices in the competition to cost less than $2,000 to build and to challenge the participant’s knowledge of the human body and how it can be assisted in performing specific tasks.
If you’re a university student (or an educator with students) with a passion for wearable technology, robotics, functional clothing, or physical augmentation of the human body, take advantage of your chance to participate in the Exo Games. Remember, the number of teams that can compete is limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so get in touch with the Exo Technology Center of Excellence and secure your place in the competition today!