Factory workers often lift over 10 metric tons of weight every day according to a report from the Work Foundation Alliance based in Lancaster UK, on average 44 million workers suffer from muscular and skeletal health disorders due to their work environments due to heavy lifting resulting in spinal injuries which are the most common. The Robo-mate project has developed an exoskeleton that is capable of making heavy objects ten times light to maneuver. This project is currently in the prototype stage and still requires research in order to make it safe for both the factory worker and the work environment. Assembly work in factories is physically demanding and requires a person’s intervention, particularly when piecing together a car as the positioning of car batteries and seats are too complex for mechanical robotic arms to achieve.
There are multiple different components to the exoskeleton model that assists workers and prevent physical strain and injury these are called modules which consist of three main sections based on the human anatomy.
The arm modules are attached to the upper and lower arm areas these actively support the factory workers when carrying heavy loads using a motor powered system the amount of weight is significantly reduced.
The back section dubbed the truck module is designed to support and stabilize the spinal region, in particular, the spinal collum preventing the occurrence of spinal twisting and disc slipping. This helps workers maintain a correct and healthy posture whilst carrying objects by supporting the torso by keeping it straight when doing bending tasks.
The leg modules are positioned on the inner thighs and attached to the truck module when the worker assumes the squat position the module stiffens providing respite and preventing pressure on the leg muscles so the worker does not have to exert any strength.