The project MARCH team consists of a young multidisciplinary team of students with one vision: to re-enable paraplegics to participate in daily life activities, such as getting up from a sofa or climbing the stairs. Some of these activities are experienced as very challenging or impossible by paraplegic patients. Therefore, the team will develop an exoskeleton that will give back their mobility.
An exoskeleton is a harness that simulates or strengthens the natural movement of the human body. Besides giving back mobility to paraplegics, exoskeletons can be used for people working under extreme conditions, such as fire fighters or heavy construction workers. By using an exoskeleton, heavy loads can be alleviated. Although exoskeletons can be used in multiple ways, this team will focus primarily on the development of an exoskeleton for paraplegic patients.
Using knowledge obtained by an existing exoskeleton (MINDWALKER), the team will improve the practical functionality and versatility. In order to test the capabilities of the suit, the team and paraplegic pilot will participate in the first worldwide bionic championships, the Cybathlon, which will be held in Zürich in October 2016. During this event bionic para-athletes will compete in several disciplines. One of these disciplines will be the exoskeleton race. Academic and commercial teams from all over the world will bring their own developed exoskeleton and race each other on a track consisting of six obstacles. This track will be an elaborate test for the capacity and versatility of the exoskeletons.