Exoskeleton gives workers super power

Researchers at the University of Gävle, Sweden, have developed a new type of exoskeleton that promises to reduce muscle stress by up to 60%. The device can be used for physical protection of workers in industry, in logistics companies or in construction.

The equipment is connected to the human body through a special suit and provides the arms with extra strength and resilience to perform repetitive or high-impact tasks that are responsible for injuries or injuries leading to a decrease in productivity and removal of workers.

“In these industrial environments, workers suffer multiple injuries and sick leave rates are very high, which makes these situations a real problem. Exoskeletons can be an important part of the solution if they are used more often, ”says robotics professor Sajid Rafique.

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Super strength

The Upper Body EksoVest was tested on 25 volunteers who performed drilling tasks with their arms raised using a 5 kg drill. With sensors installed in the devices, the researchers were able to measure muscle exertion at different levels.

Volunteer with exoskeleton handling a drill (Image: Reproduction / University of Gävle)

After a few minutes of staying in the same position, people who used the exoskeleton showed muscle tension by 60%, which improved strength in performing the work and decreased the stress caused by the weight of the drill.

“Technology has the potential to improve the lives of many workers who can benefit from reducing their workload and making them feel less tired when they return home. In addition, the health burden can be reduced, as the risk of injury and wear and tear when using the exoskeleton is significantly lower, ”adds Rafique.

in the real world

Previous studies have shown that constant use of EksoVest-like equipment reduces sick leave levels by the same percentage. Statistics from vehicle manufacturer Ford show that the number of employees on sick leave has fallen by 85% due to the use of exoskeletons.

EksoVest costume created at the University of Gävle (Image: Reproduction / University of Gävle)

Each EksoVest costs approx. 5,000 euros (approx. 32,000 R $ with direct conversion and without taxes). Researchers believe that 20 years from now, most workers who manufacture and assemble equipment will be using an exoskeleton to relieve muscle strain.

“There is still room for a lot of improvement to create devices that are lighter and easier for everyone to adjust. I believe that insurance companies will force the use of exoskeletons in the future because they greatly reduce the risk of injury to workers, ”predicts Professor Sajid Rafique.

Source: University of Gävle

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