Exoskeletons have been around for decades, both in real life and in science fiction. But the latest wave of exoskeletons are advanced enough that they’re being tested in automobile factories, with the hopes of preventing injury, and can even allow paralyzed people to walk.
image/text credit: The Verge
In the season 2 finale of Next Level, Lauren Goode reports from a Ford factory in Michigan where they are beta-testing an exoskeleton vest on one select employees to reduce workplace injuries.Exoskeletons are becoming an important part of the scene in more conventional workplaces, mainly because of their unique offering.
Exoskeletons act as a bridge between fully-manual labour and robotic systems. You get the brains of people in the body of a robot,” says Dan Kara, research director at ABI Research.The skeleton works by transferring loads from the machinery to the floor via a series of joints at critical parts of the user’s body.
Ford assembly line workers are now testing an upper body exoskeletal suit called EksoVest that could lessen the chance of injury or fatigue on the job, Ford said in a statement. The vest is optimized to support workers’ arms and provides between five and 15 pounds of lift assistance per arm when the springs in the vest are activated.