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Formero prototypes Rex Bionics robotic legs

FORMERO has detailed how its digital manufacturing service was used to help Rex Bionics develop a real-life pair of robotic legs called Rex.

Rex is a robotic exoskeleton which enables disabled users to walk. It started as a concept by start up company Rex Bionics, but grew in scope to become a real-life pair of robotic legs that enables actions like standing up, walking, moving sideways, turning around, going up and down steps, and walking on various flat hard surfaces.

Rex Bionics approached Formero to prototype the outer skin components which covered the mechanisms of the device.

According to Formero, the cover was challenging because they were highly complex containing moving parts, that needed to be aesthetically pleasing, highly accurate and waterproof.

Formero opted to use its Selective Laser Sintered (SLS) technology. Additively manufacture parts produced from Nylon 11 were selected for the covers of the ankle, knee, leg and hip joints.

Secondary processes were also applied to improve the quality of the surface finish and overall appearance.

The method of production changed from SLS to Silicone Tooling and Vacuum Casting as the requirements grew from a couple of units to over seven at a time.

The exoskeleton took seven years of development work and is now capable of supporting the full weight of a person. It is simple enough for disabled users to self-transfer in and out of and to operate the robotic legs a joystick and control pad are used.

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