Powered Exoskeletons

Goals

The goal is to identify powered exoskeletons that can assist with a pulling or dragging motion as well as to find robotic devices that can be programmed to remove batches from the container without damaging the equipment.

Early Findings

  • The current state of powered exoskeleton technology sees a few companies such as Hyundai, Honda, Audi, and a couple of others making powered exoskeletons. Several of the designs are for assisting persons with physical ailments to be able to walk. A few designs are for industrial applications, most with the intent of reducing lifting strain.

SuitX

  • SuitX makes a clever series of exoskeletons that do not rely on gaskets, chambers, or batteries. These suits are known as passive exoskeletons and do not rely on outside power sources.
  • Shoulderx is one such example. The device "augments its wearer by reducing forces at the shoulder complex" thus improving overall productivity and ability. The device is completely adjustable and as such is a one-size-fits-all solution.
  • The suit is "fire retardant, dust-proof and water-resistant" and does not require batteries or electric power.
  • Shoulderx is designed to be compatible with backx and legx which were also designed to be comfortable and anthropomorphic for users.

Cautions

  • There are very few studies that have been conducted and peer-reviewed as to the safety and productivity enhancements from using mechanical augmentation from exoskeletons.
  • Current research indicates that using upper-body devices does indeed remove the pressure and strain from the upper body and shoulder areas but then places additional strain on the lower-back and legs of the operator.
  • Other concerns found in studies were the increase of posture strain and instability along with not moving along a natural plane of motion.

Proposed next steps:

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