Exovolar Innovates a Human-flight, Jet-powered Exoskeleton using 3DEXPERIENCE Works
Exovolar leveraged SOLIDWORKS for Entrepreneurs and 3DEXPERIENCE Works solutions to develop its jet-powered exoskeleton, which, unlike previous jet pack designs, utilizes the legs for flight and navigation, leaving the hands free to complete tasks while the user is in a hovering position
Develop a safe, jet-powered exoskeleton that enables humans to fly and hover with hands free in order to complete tasks while hovering.
Utilize SOLIDWORKS for Entrepreneurs and 3DEXPERIENCE Works solutions, including SOLIDWORKS Premium design, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Topology Studies, SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis, Collaborative Business Innovator, Collaborative Industry Innovator, 3D Creator, and Collaborative Designer for SOLIDWORKS.
- Optimized jet nozzles with flow simulation
- Reduced part weight via topology optimization
- Secured patent for thrust vector nozzle
- Realized automated, transparent data management
Founder and Lead Mechanical Engineer, Guanhao Wu started Exovolar Industries Corp. in 2019 with the aim of augmenting and democratizing human mobility by making flying as simple and safe as walking. Wu used the combination of jet engines, an exoskeleton, and the company’s patented thrust vector nozzle to support and move the human body in the sky. His brainchild leaves the flyer’s hands free to repair offshore wind turbines, paint the side of a Navy ship, or take pictures while leisurely flying through the air, among countless other possibilities.
Wu chose the SOLIDWORKS® for Entrepreneurs suite of product development solutions to enable initial research and development. “It is easy to use and provides a complete range of integrated design and engineering solutions,” he says. Exovolar completed its first hovering test without undue rounds of prototyping by simulating design performance and optimizing the design in SOLIDWORKS.
Optimizing Patented Jet Nozzles with Flow Simulation
Maintaining a stable, uniform hover is imperative to making the exoskeleton autonomous and practical. “Flying the exoskeleton is a bit like riding a hoverboard because the unit is controlled by the feet, providing stability and balance while using computerized thrust vectoring in the jets to autonomously control thrust and thrust angles,” Wu explains. “Using SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation software, I was able to optimize the shape of the thrust vector nozzle for the four jet engines—two for each leg—without having to build a physical prototype by conducting a thermal/flow simulation.”
Leveraging Topology Optimization to Design Lighter, Stronger Parts
Wu used SOLIDWORKS Simulation topology studies to automatically generate optimized component geometry based on the specific design space, loads, and geometric constraints, including those imposed by the manufacturing process. “SOLIDWORKS Simulation Topology Optimization capabilities helped me to design lighter, stiffer, stronger parts without having to undertake a lengthy, iterative, trial-and-error design process,” Wu notes.
“We initially wanted to try out the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to see how it works. However, once we started using it, we discovered just how much easier data management is on the cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE platform. It’s so much easier to maintain revision control and manage design data on the platform that we simply cannot go back to the old way of managing data locally.”
Easier Management of Data and Revisions in the Cloud
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Wu added 3DEXPERIENCE® Works solutions, including the 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s automated, transparent data management capabilities. He recalls, “We discovered just how much easier data management is on the cloud-based platform. It’s so much easier to maintain revision control and manage design data on the platform that we simply cannot go back to the old way of managing data locally.”
Wu concludes, “As development of the flying exoskeleton advances, we’ll need effective data management and revision control to support additional users and our future growth. The combination of SOLIDWORKS design software and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform provides us with all of the design and engineering capabilities that we need, with the added benefit of transparent data management and security in the cloud.”