First exoskeleton for industry unveiled

Production workers often lift up to 10 metric tons of material a day. According to the Work Foundation Alliance (Lancaster, UK), 44 million workers in the EU suffer from work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Now researchers in the EU’s Robo-Mate project have developed an exoskeleton that makes loads up to ten times lighter to lift or carry. The project partners presented the first prototype at Fraunhofer IAO in Stuttgart on 12 June. Effortlessly, a factory worker lifts a seat out of an old car. In a few nimble manoeuvres, he grips the 15 kg seat, hoists it out of its anchoring, and carries it to a station to join the other seats there. These fleet movements are made possible by an exoskeleton, a kind of external supporting frame that actively assists workers. Is this reality or science fiction?”


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