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Upcoming event: Exoskeleton Technical Interchange Meeting

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NIST and the U.S. Army NSRDEC are holding a two-day meeting with experts from the industrial, military, and medical communities to discuss exoskeleton standards with the main goal being to advance the exoskeleton industry.

Organizers:

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center (NSRDEC)

Goals:

The Exoskeleton Technical Interchange Meeting aims to identify gaps in the current exoskeleton standards: terminology, test methods, and performance metrics for the industrial, military and medical subsectors of the exoskeleton industry.  The two-day meeting should provide an outlet for more involvement and progress on the subject.

As a secondary goal, the organizers hope to promote further exoskeleton technological advancements by building relationships among key stakeholders.

A large turnout is expected from representatives of industry, federal agencies, the military, academia, medical providers, insurance providers, standards development organizations, and international organizations which are all invited to attend.

Importance:

Standards and unifying terminology can bring a higher level of acceptance and prestige to a brand new industry.  In a recently published video, the founder of CYBERDYNE, Dr. Sankai summarized the importance of standards best:

“If somebody creates an innovative technology, in this case, there is no market, no users, no social rules, no professionals.” (ISO, YouTube) – Dr. Sankai speaking in reference to ISO 13482, the first international standard on the safety of personal care robots.  An ISO standard makes it easier to design new products and later market them.

Our own experience:

The Exoskeleton Report team has also had to grapple with defining proper terminology and some basic metrics to compare one exoskeleton device to another.  We started by making a breakdown of types and classifications of exoskeletons in 2015.  At the start of 2016, we highlighted the importance of 3rd party testing for exoskeleton products.  It then took us more than three months to come up with our own definition of the exoskeleton industry in 2016, including what it covers and what falls beyond its scope.

Even with our own set of classifications and definitions in place, it still took us another four months to compile our catalog of commercial exoskeletons.  In it, we have broken down the exoskeleton industry into four main categories and have distributed over 60 products into more than 10 subcategories.   But at the eleventh hour, our core team and contributors were still arguing over which devices were and were not exoskeletons.  Furthermore, there are already discrepancies between our definitions and those by other organizations which can only cause confusion in the future.  Having a standard set of definitions to be used by the exoskeleton industry will be of great assistance to us and anyone who want to learn more about wearable exoskeletons.

Time & Place:

Thursday, January 26, 2017 – Friday, January 27, 2017

NIST – Green Auditorium 100 Bureau Drive Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899

Note: You have to pre-register for this event by January 19th, 2017.  There will not be any registration at the door.

Links:

For more information please visit the NIST events page for January 2017: link

For other exoskeleton related events don’t forget to check our events calendar for new updates.

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