Skip Navigation Links

Helping Wounded Warriors with A Robot

Stefanie Senkow
February 25, 2021

photo of cadets studyingHow can a robot serve servicemen and women? As part of their senior project, Electrical Engineering majors Ryan Dunkle and Rachel Everson and Mechanical Engineering majors Juliana Lehnerova and Kazuki Oshiro have one idea.

Briefly describe your project.

To develop the lower body - feet, ankle, knees, and hips - of a small-scale humanoid robot that can stand and walk forward while maintaining balance.

Why is there a need for a project/research like this?

In the future, we are hoping that this project can be used to help wounded warriors as they transition back into everyday life with the new challenges each may face. There are tons of more advanced self-balancing robots out there right now, but we are hoping that by designing one at a service academy, over the years it can be tailored to fit the needs of the military. Being in the military, I think we have a little bit more of a connection with wounded warriors, which can open the door to conversations that the private sector might not be having.

We were motivated to do this to help others. All of us have a curiosity about the medical field, because of our own injuries in the past or based on the desire to combine engineering with helping people. This project seemed like a way to both challenge ourselves and give our project more purpose.

A related goal is the potential for wounded warriors to return to service despite their injuries. While this doesn’t directly support the Coast Guard mission, it can help our sister services, which in turn builds upon the bond we have formed with other military services.

What does the future hold for a project like this?

For now, the focus of this project is to just build a lower-half robot that can walk by itself. From there, future groups can scale it and can go one of two directions: either modify it to create an exoskeleton for those that are paralyzed and cannot walk without assistance or to have the robotic legs replace limbs that have been amputated.

Discover Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at the Academy.