Exoskeletons are not a new idea. The Ironhand from Bioservo is a good, practical example of how an exoskeleton can work in real life. It helps to protect human workers against repetitive motion injuries as well as musculoskeletal injuries from overuse. It won the NASA Commercial Invention of the Year Award in 2020.
By now, some competitors have come up with their own versions of the Ironhand.
Designed only for the hands, this exoskeleton is a wearable device designed to support and augment the capabilities of manual workers, particularly those in physically demanding industries such as construction, manufacturing, and mining. The exoskeleton is designed to fit over the hand and forearm, and is equipped with motors, sensors, and controls that allow it to augment the strength, endurance, and precision of the wearer.
The use of Ironhand exoskeletons has the potential to make manual labor easier, safer, and more efficient. The exoskeleton can provide workers with extra strength and stability, reducing the risk of injury and allowing them to lift and move heavy objects more easily. This can also reduce the physical stress and strain associated with manual labor, helping workers to perform their tasks more effectively and efficiently.
IA reduction in the physical demands of the job and less chance of injury can help reduce fatigue as well. It could even help to improve workers’ quality of life and overall job satisfaction.
Despite these potential benefits, there are also challenges associated with the use of Ironhand exoskeletons. One of the main challenges is cost. The exoskeletons are still relatively new technology, and their production and maintenance can be expensive. The systems cost about $6,000 each, so this is not something individual workers will be able to buy for themselves.
Another challenge is the issue of compatibility with existing work processes and equipment. The exoskeleton must be designed and configured to work seamlessly with the specific tools, machinery, and processes used by each worker. This requires careful consideration of the exoskeleton’s design, as well as its integration with existing systems and processes.
The Ironhand exoskeleton is a promising technology that has the potential to revolutionize manual labor. With its ability to augment workers’ strength, endurance, and precision, the exoskeleton has the potential to make manual labor easier, safer, and more efficient.