The MSU Strength Augmenting Robotic eXoskeleton (STARX) Team is a student organization in the College of Engineering at Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI) dedicated to designing and building a strength-augmenting robotic exoskeleton suit for competitive and research purposes. Exoskeletons are an emerging technology, with applications ranging from strength-augmentation and muscle strain relief in factory work and the military to fully substituting for human muscles in stroke and paralysis rehabilitation. Inspired by the rescue missions of firefighters and disaster relief workers, our suit gives a healthy user the ability to lift heavy loads without additional muscle strain and to maneuver through a variety of terrains.
STARX is the only biomedical engineering-focused club at MSU, and with more than forty active members and a strong network of faculty and graduate-student support, we strive to integrate mechanical and electrical systems with an innovative control system for a seamless human and machine interface. We compete annually at the national ACE competition in tasks commonly performed by firefighters, and our performance is judged on our suit’s ability to maneuver through a variety of terrains while carrying an external load without increasing the muscle load of the user.