Standards & Regulations

ASTM International ET CoE Launches Two New Exoskeleton Surveys

The ASTM International Exo Technology Center of Excellence (ET CoE) is seeking to understand the utilization and pitfalls of exoskeletons and wearable robots. The ET CoE has launched not one, but two surveys this week: Medical Practitioner Exo Survey (hosted on SoGoSurvey) & Exo Technology – Training Needs (hosted on the ASTM website).

Medical Practioner Exoskeleton Technology Survey

ET CoE Medical Exoskeleton Survey 2022 What began as a list of 100 questions, the medical practitioner survey has been meticulously refined until it can be taken in less than fifteen minutes. The questions are focused on confirming the gaps and opportunities in medical exoskeleton standards, and best practices.

The ET CoE is looking for participation from medical practitioners to identify and validate foundational information related to medical exoskeletons:

  • Inpatient and outpatient exo technology utilization.
  • The current learning curve required to utilize exos.
  • Perceived safety, effectiveness, and usability.
  • Needs and shortcomings connected to the technology and its related messaging.
  • Identify common trends and experiences.
  • What are the barriers to the use of exoskeletons by patients?

The Exoskeleton Report counts 62 companies that are engaged in creating medical exoskeletons (Directory link). Fifty-six of their medical products are listed in the Exoskeleton Catalog. However, wider adoption of medical exoskeletons remains elusive. This could mean that the companies need to create better and more affordable products. But it could be equally likely that the limiting factor to wider adoption is poor communication and lack of educational material on the subject.

This survey asks for 15 minutes of medical practitioners’ time in order to confirm the ET CoE’s understanding of the current state of utilization of exo technology. The survey findings will be carefully analyzed, and the identified needs, concerns, and opportunities will be summarized and prioritized. The goal of the survey is to confirm which are the most pressing topics regarding medical exoskeletons at this time.

Exo Technology – Training Needs

The second survey by the ET CoE aims to better assess the training needs of the Exo Community. While exoskeleton technology has the potential to herald a physical revolution, it relies on the close interaction between man and machine. It is therefore imperative that gaps in training, standards, and certifications are identified and confirmed by the community. Otherwise is to risk the benefits promised by this technology from not reaching the intended users for years to come.

The below survey has been developed by the ASTM Training and ET CoE Team and is a shorter, two-page survey (link).

If you have any questions regarding the surveys, please contact etcoe@astm.org

Prior Survey Results

The two surveys above are not the first rodeo of the ET CoE team in gauging the state of the exoskeleton industry. In August 2020, the ET CoE launched its first-ever, anonymized, exoskeleton producer survey (AnnouncingET CoE Survey of Exoskeleton Producers). The survey was directed at exoskeleton companies that are involved with the design and development of exoskeletons, exosuits, wearable robotics, powered clothing, and the like. The survey had excellent participation and the results have been published on the center of excellence website: https://www.etcoe.org in a multi-page report that is free to access for everyone.

On behalf of the ET CoE team, thank you to all survey participants!

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