Life is stressful, and for many of us there is nothing more stressful than work. Yes, thanks to modern technology, a lot of jobs have become significantly easier. Also, even though there are so many tools out there to electronically or robotically do someone’s job, there are still many jobs out there that require human hands.
And because there are still so many jobs that require humans to perform manual labor, many workers often experience musculoskeletal issues. In fact, the National Research Council says one million people suffered from work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the United States in 2001. Because of all of the health problems modern workers face, one company is testing out a potential solution.
According to the Thomas Industry Update, Levitate Technologies is in the process of testing out a lightweight exoskeleton with automotive brand BMW and other manufacturing firms across the country. The goal of the exoskeleton is to help people who are constantly working with their bodies prevent potential injuries. The user would wear this exoskeleton over their clothes while working. the frame of the exoskeleton is actually so lightweight it should allow employees to still fully do their job.
The exoskeleton, called Airframe, is designed like a backpack. It can be adjusted to almost any body size and type because it comes equipped with adjustable straps. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders have been known to cause $50 billion in lost productivity in the workplace every year, and Levitate Technologies wants to make sure that similar losses don’t have to happen in the future.
Originally, the Airframe was designed to help surgeons who were struggling with pain and exhaustion due to standing for a long period of time during surgeries. However, the exoskeleton is now being tested for use in the manufacturing sector, such as workers at an automotive plant. The airframe allows weight to be evenly distributed throughout the body so that no one body part is being strained or overworked. In theory, this could prevent injuries both on the job and later in life from repetitive stress to specific areas of the body.
The device runs on a pulley system instead of any power source. This is great for people who are constantly on the move who can’t be tied down to an electrical outlet. The company hopes that their futuristic exoskeleton frame will be the answer to helping employees perform their tasks in a safe and comfortable way.
So while many manufacturing workers may fear being replaced by robots, instead these exoskeletons may help them perform their job that much more efficiently and safely.