How do we make occupational exoskeletons less task-specific and more helpful to the millions of people who engage in repetitive physical work? Auxivo AG thinks they might have the answer in their newest exosuit, the OmniSuit®: an integrated shoulder and back assistive device designed to support workers engaged in overhead, lifting, and forward-leaning tasks.
One of the most significant criticisms of exoskeletons for work and industry is that they can be helpful but only within the confines of a specific task. For example, a shoulder-support wearable would only assist those who need to work at or above chest level height but would be of little use if they were to have to lift items from ground level. The OmniSuit® attempts to circumvent this conundrum by being both a passive shoulder and back support exosuit. In other words, a two-in-one product. In practical terms, the same wearable can assist with lifting tasks from ground level to overhead to reduce workload and fatigue on the human body.
Lighter than one would expect:
The OmniSuit® isn’t the first combined back and shoulder assist wearable, but it does have a unique weight and form profile. The first generation of suitX passive exoskeletons could be incorporated into a back-shoulder device. More recently, the Canadian producer Mawashi released the UPLIFT™, which has a back-arms configuration. However, the OmniSuit is only 2.7 kg (6 pounds) while still retaining a hybrid frame made from soft and rigid materials. The company achieved this feat using advanced materials such as aerospace-grade aluminum, polymers, and technical textiles.
Experience it for yourself:
The best way to understand wearable robotics is to put it on yourself. The first public presentations are scheduled for October 17th – 19th at the Transport & Logistics fair in Antwerp, Belgium, and from October 24-27 at the A&A Fair in Düsseldorf, Germany, which will include WearRAcon Europe 2023 and the Exo Park (link).
Comfort and Usability:
The OmniSuit® patent pending design aims to address common drawbacks of wearable devices. One quality of life improvement is dynamic support at the shoulders that translates to zero upward pull when the arms are lowered down. Fit, material breathability and heat retention, freedom of movement, and alignment have all been addressed. The OmniSuit® could be the first of a new generation of assistive wearables.
For more information, visit the manufacturer’s website at https://www.auxivo.com.
All images courtesy of Auxivo AG.