For over half a century the Iturri Group has serviced Europe, South America, Asia and other continents with the most innovative technologies and concepts for personnel protection, civil defense, military defense and environmental protection. Most recently, they expanded their advanced technology reach to include Exoskeletons for the reduction of occupational injuries. Their portfolio includes products from well-recognized players in the exo space such as Laevo and NOONEE. With occupational health and safety at the forefront of their mission statement, Exoskeleton technologies are the single most disruptive capabilities in the marketplace.
While the NATO community gathered for the 3rd Integration of the Exoskeleton in the Battlefield Workshop 2018, from 17th to 19th October 2018 in Prague, Czech Republic, New Stone Soup VT LLC and Boston Engineering Corp, from Massachusetts, were invited to the Iturri, Seville Ex(o)Perience Day working forum, held on 18 October 2018.
With opening remarks from CEO Juan Francisco Iturri, members from across Spain and Europe representing occupational health and safety, trade industries, automotive industries, insurance companies, and public policy bodies, set off to a full day of information, wrapping up with a full-fledged working session.
Presenters included users from the automotive and aerospace industries: Ford Motor Company, DAIMLER AG, AUDI AG, Airbus Operations; developers from Laevo, NooNEE, COMAU and Skelex; experts in Occupational health and Ergonomics and third-party technology analysts. Industry users are currently active in evaluating different systems in a diverse range of tasks, to determine the efficacy of systems in reducing muscular skeletal injuries. Of main interest was the topic of “user acceptance” and “new technology insertion” into the workplace. Developers realize that in order to successfully implement an exoskeleton program, requires significant investment in educating the intended consumer. To that effect, a significant percentage of their budget goes to outreach.
When asked about the “lessons learned” and “what you would do differently to introduce new technologies to a consumer base,” all of the presenters agreed that technologies MUST be introduced at the worker level. Without user acceptance, the technology is bound to fail. Conversely, data is clearly showing the benefits of using exoskeleton technology for heavy lifting, overhead repetitive motions, and so on. However, without user acceptance and confidence in the product, the best of data is meaningless to the ultimate user.
Their discussion certainly sparked the reality that while the United States ASTM F48 is feverishly pushing the envelope for standards and test methods in the U.S., its European counterparts are facing the same challenges, gaps, and questions. It was clear that a meeting of the “US and Europe” experience should be a logical follow up to Exo Iturri’s initiative. Ex(o)PERIENCE is the first bold initiative to bring the European exoskeleton community together and face the challenges of standardization, test methods, validation, and policy together.
There is no question that exoskeletons are here to stay. Iturri group put on a very well orchestrated and effective one day workshop. Their commitment to the wellness of workers globally is unquestionable. Looking forward to the next steps for the European market and a meeting of Europe and U.S. Exo communities.
If you want to know more about Ex(o)PERIENCE DAY 2018, visit:http://www.iturri.com/news/iturri-organiza-en-sevilla-el-ex-o-perience-day-primer-evento-nacional-de-exoesqueletos-para-uso-industrial
Rita (Rita Gonzalez) Vazquez-Torres is a Senior Technology and Programs Strategist with 20+ years of entrepreneurial government Science and Technology Policy and leadership experience. She has served as Senior Industrial Security/Special Security for Special Programs; Business Development/Strategic Outreach Liaison and team leader. Mrs. Vazquez-Torres is the CEO/Founder of New Stone Soup VT LLC, technology consulting firm.
Views expressed by contributing authors are their own and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the Exoskeleton Report.