Have you ever tried on an occupation (industrial) exoskeleton in the past? If so, there is an opportunity to participate in an important research survey led by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium. The survey authors are Shirley Elprama and An Jacobs, and they are asking for 20 to 30 minutes of your time. While this is a significant time commitment ask, the opinions collected will be used to understand better what people think about occupational exoskeletons and why people like or dislike them.
This is not a one-off research effort. This is a follow-up effort to crowd-source information from people who have experience with occupational exoskeletons in the real world. The authors, Shirley Elprama and An Jacobs, have published prior studies on surveys like this that have already helped exoskeleton producers, distributors, and implementers clue in on factors related to exo acceptance and potential adoption. Some examples include Social Processes: What Determines Industrial Workers’ Intention to Use Exoskeletons? (Jan 2020, link) and An industrial exoskeleton user acceptance framework based on a literature review of empirical studies (Apr 2022, link).
This occupational exoskeleton survey can be viewed as another step by the researchers to create a model that helps to optimize the acceptance of these wearable assistive devices. This, in turn, can inform exoskeleton implementation programs and make long-term adoption of exos easier and more successful. Insurance companies, buyers, and everyone interested in exploring exoskeletons has been asking for long-term longitudinal studies with real-world data on injury prevention, productivity, and ROI for many years in order to justify investments in programs and products that might benefit their workforce. But this will come only after the exoskeleton industry has a better adoption model.
The survey is open to anyone 18 years or older. Consider participating not only if you are an individual or a company that uses exoskeletons but also if you have tried them and decided not to use them in the end. You can review the informed consent form and participate in the survey HERE.
This article was completed with the insights and contributions of Matthew Marino, PT, MSPT, CPE, CSCS, TSAC-F, a founding Partner of the ASTM Exo Technology Center of Excellence, and co-owner of Prime Performance LLC. Matt has over 20 years of experience in rehabilitation, health and fitness, ergonomics, and the design, testing, use, and implementation of wearable sensor and exoskeleton technologies (LinkedIn)