by Paolo Valpolini
Plica, a Bulgarian start-up formed by two engineers working part-time, Anton and Yavor Gegov, exhibited its wholly mechanical exoskeleton, developed on private funds, less than 1,000 € according to the two co-founders of the company. The technology demonstrator seen in Prague was the fifth iteration; made of welded carbon steel to contain cost, it weighs 25 kg, is fully modular, it can be easily disassembled for transport, and can fit various sizes of users. The consistent weight is due not only to the materiel, but also to redundant mechanisms. The Plica exoskeleton exploits springs and gravity to power the knee and ankle joints adopted, has a low backpack placement to increase stability, and provides a solid support when kneeling. Shoes, which allow transferring the load to the soil, proved to be a problem when driving mechanic gear cars, due to the overlapping on throttle and brake pedals. Yavor Gegov explained that in perspective Plica aims at developing an exoskeleton with a slimmer profile, lower weight thanks to the use of more advanced materials and processes, and with adjustable shoes. Something that will be possible if the start-up will find some forms of cooperation in country or abroad.