Industrial

Hyundai Motor Group Expands Its Human Augmentation Portfolio With The VEX Exoskeleton

Preparing for the exoskeleton future

“From human, to robot, back to human again…” is the start of a new, highly polished video by the Hyundai Motor Group. While the video is a celebration of the years of work by Hyundai in the field of exoskeletons, it is primarily focused on highlight the VEX Exoskeleton: a passive wearable device for shoulder support during repetitive execution of overhead tasks and the Chairless [Chair] CEX Exoskeleton for prolonged work while crouching or squating.

The VEX and Exoskeleton has already been tested at Hyundai’s Alabama plant, writes Michael Tomberlin in the Alabama Newscenter.

Hyundai’s Alabama plant was instrumental in developing a new wearable robot exoskeleton, and its workers will be among the first in the world to incorporate the technology on the assembly line.
On Tuesday, Hyundai Motor Group unveiled plans for its Hyundai Rotem company to produce the Vest EXoskeleton, or VEX, and Chairless EXoskeleton, or CEX. The technology aims to assist industrial workers working in overhead environments.
VEX is lightweight and mimics the movement of human joints, allowing for added load support and mobility. Its design allows for muscular assistance without requiring a battery.

Michael Tomberlin in the Alabama Newscenter, Sep 4, 2019

What we know:

The VEX Exoskeleton (shoulder support) will by made by Hyundai Rotem, it will weigh 5.5 pounds, provide 12.1 pounds and the first production model is expected by the end of the year. It was piloted at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama and the Kia plant in Georgia.

The CEX Exoskeleton (chairless chair) weighs 3.5 pounds and is designed to support upto 330 pounds. It utilizes straps to secure to the user.

The video shows a third passive exoskeleton, the WEX – Waist Exoskeleton, a passive hip exoskeleton for lift assist. Visually, it appears to be a non-powered version of the H-Wex which was presented at the 2017 CES.

“This is how we prepare for the future” is the end of this flashy two minute commercial for industrial passive exoskeletons. Both an assertion of the potential of exo technology to improve worker’s lives and an admission that the benefits of human augmentation are still out of reach for most.

References:

Workers at Hyundai’s Alabama plant to use new ‘wearable robot’ exoskeleton, Michael Tomberlin, Sep 4, 2019, Alabama Newscenter, https://alabamanewscenter.com/2019/09/04/workers-at-hyundais-alabama-plant-to-use-new-wearable-robot-exoskeleton/

Hyundai Motor Group Develops VEX Wearable Robot for Overhead Task, Hyundai Motor Group, Sep 3, 2019, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=ybGnbaCdZIk

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