Industrial applications of exoskeletons and their impact on physical loads

M.P. de Looze, T. Bosch, F. Krause, K. Stadler, L. O'Sullivan

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The aim of this review was to provide an overview of assistive exoskeletons that have specifically been developed for industrial purposes and to assess the potential effect of these exoskeletons on reduction of physical loading on the body. The search resulted in 40 papers describing 26 different industrial exoskeletons, of which 19 were active (actuated) and 7 were passive (non-actuated). For 13 exoskeletons, the effect on physical loading has been evaluated, mainly in terms of muscle activity. All passive exoskeletons retrieved were aimed to support the low back. Ten-forty per cent reductions in back muscle activity during dynamic lifting and static holding have been reported. Both lower body, trunk and upper body regions could benefit from active exoskeletons. Muscle activity reductions up to 80% have been reported as an effect of active exoskeletons. Exoskeletons have the potential to considerably reduce the underlying factors associated with work-related musculoskeletal injury. Practitioner Summary: Worldwide, a significant interest in industrial exoskeletons does exist, but a lack of specific safety standards and several technical issues hinder mainstay practical use of exoskeletons in industry. Specific issues include discomfort (for passive and active exoskeletons), weight of device, alignment with human anatomy and kinematics, and detection of human intention to enable smooth movement (for active exoskeletons).
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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