Exoskeletons: Not Just For Aliens Anymore

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Rob Wells

Everyone remembers Ellen Ripley donning the yellow construction exoskeleton and battling the mother alien, but did you know that construction exoskeletons are in use today?

Major manufacturers, including Toyota, Boeing, and GM, are all working with construction companies on wearable exoskeletons that relieve pressure and strain on joints, limbs and backs. These machines, both powered and passive, protect and enhance the body. Some of these exoskeletons include the following:

Levitate’s Airframe

This product is worn on the back and arms, and is designed for people who repeatedly have to lift their arms, working below or underneath their project. The exoskeleton lowers exertion levels by as much as 80%. There is also a variant designed to be used in hot environments, such as welding, sanding or grinding.

Bioservo’s Ironhand

This glove, worn underneath a regular work glove, strengthens the worker’s grip as well as gathering data about the movements, analyzing potential risks. Worn with a backpack that provides the power, this glove has pressure-sensitive triggers that strengthen the grip and enhance the endurance of the wearer.

Ekso Bionic’s EksoZeroG is a skeleton that holds heavy tools above the head, for work on aerial platforms like scissor lifts. It works with any tool weighing up to 42 pounds, including rivet busters, demo hammers, rotary hammers and impact wrenches. It also works well with grinders, including a gimbal that allows for rotation and movement. The skeleton can be mounted in less than a minute.

Sarcos Robotic’s Guardian XO

Perhaps the most sci-fi looking exoskeleton of the bunch, this full-body industrial suit enhances strength, endurance, and power for up to eight hours at a time, allowing the wearer to lift as much as 200 pounds repetitively while keeping the body safe and protected.

To learn more about construction exoskeletons, check out ContructionDive.

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