Companies are starting to propose functioning exoskeletons for real applications, from soldier support to helping paraplegic patients walk. But they could also be customized to help everyday workers with their harder tasks, as Lowe's lift-easing prototype demonstrated. Ford is taking a different tack by investing in the EksoVest, a new exoskeleton that supports factory employees' upper bodies to ease strain when lifting and performing overhead tasks, reports “Engadget”.
Certain Ford employees do these tasks up to 4,600 times per day and up to a million times per year, the automaker noted in a press release. The non-powered EksoVest, designed by Ekso Bionics in partnership with Ford, helps lift five to fifteen pounds, easing the strain on users' upper bodies and preventing some fatigue. That assistance could help prevent workplace accidents resulting from tired muscles and minds. The EksoVest fits employees from 5-feet to 6-feet 4-inches tall and is designed for anyone in load-bearing work, from factories to construction sites to distribution centers.