Exoskeleton Event Highlight: ExoWorkAthlon and WearRAcon Europe 2021

ExoWorkAthlon and WearRAcon Europe 2021

WearRAcon Europe Virtual 2021 will be held October 5-7 in conjunction with EXOWORKATHLON as a virtual conference. Similar to past iterations of the event, WearRAcon Europe 21 will provide the European point of view on industrial and occupational exoskeleton technology as well as assessment methodology. For the first time, the conference will be closely linked with the physical live experiments of EXOWORKATHLON. The three-day conference is a collaboration with the Wearable Robotics Association, Fraunhofer IPA, and the University of Stuttgart.

The WearRAcon Europe 2021 conference component will be divided into three days of talks and spotlight demos. Topics will include but will not be limited to challenges to occupational exoskeleton assessment, effects of using powered industrial exos, subjective factors, acceptance of the wearable devices, and an end-user forum. The keynote speech will be on the timely topic of reducing the barriers to the implementation of exoskeletons in practice. The keynote address will be given by Prof. Dr. Michael de Looze from the Netherlands Institute for Applied Research (TNO). Professor De Looze will address how there are “several arm-support and back support [exoskeletons that] are ready for application in the field, but companies and sector organizations face various barriers to adopt them. One of these is difficulty in pre-assessing their usefulness, human body impact, worker acceptance, and business case. How to address, reduce or eliminate these barriers, and accelerate the adoption of industrial exoskeletons? Some strategies will be presented.”

The full schedule for the conference can be found on the WearRA website: link

WearRAcon Europe Virtual 2021 and EXOWORKATHLON Live Experiment EXOWORKATHLON in Stuttgart, Germany

Through cooperation between Fraunhofer IPA, the University of Stuttgart IFF, and Messe Düsseldorf A plus A, the 3-day exoskeleton conference WearRACon Europe Virtual 2021 will run in parallel with the EXOWORKATHLON experiment. For those who miss the conference, EXOWORKATHLON II is scheduled to take place live in Düsseldorf from October 26th to 29th, 2021, at the Robotics World with Self Experience Space trade fair for occupational safety and health.

Preview to EXOWORKATHLON Welding With and Without an Exoskeleton
Preview to EXOWORKATHLON Welding With and Without an Exoskeleton

EXOWORKATHLON is a 4-station setup designed to show the potential of industrial exoskeletons in simulated use cases. Activities with the wearable devices are intended to collect and discuss data relating to user acceptance, ergonomics, metabolism, and production quality. The four stations or parcours are:

  • Parcours 1 depicts the back-stressing work processes from logistics.
  • Parcours 2 includes assembly activities in the overhead position, which are particularly stressful for the upper extremities.
  • Parcours 3 induces work processes from the welding profession with a focus on real processes in a forced position, which results in extreme stress on the upper extremities.
  • Parcours 4 includes group work in timber construction activities in which two people work together to assemble wooden beams and strips at overhead height.

Exoskeletons from German Bionic Systems, Ottobock PAEXO and HUNIC from Germany, RB3D from France, Levitate from the USA, and Skelex from the Netherlands will be utilized.

“In addition to the team of experts around Dr. Schneider, Prof. Siegert and Prof. Bauernhansl and Dr. Hensel-Unger, ergonomics expert at the Audi Group, teachers and trainees from the Wilhelm Maybach Professional School in Stuttgart are involved. There are also experts from the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Dortmund, from the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance in St. Augustin, and the planners of the world’s largest occupational safety fair AplusA, Düsseldorf.

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