The effects of a passive exoskeleton on muscle activity, discomfort and endurance time in forward bending work

Tim Bosch, Jennifer van Eck, Karlijn Knitel, Michiel de Looze

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Exoskeletons may form a new strategy to reduce the risk of developing low back pain in stressful jobs. In the present study we examined the potential of a so-called passive exoskeleton on muscle activity, discomfort and endurance time in prolonged forward-bended working postures.Eighteen subjects performed two tasks: a simulated assembly task with the trunk in a forward-bended position and static holding of the same trunk position without further activity. We measured the electromyography for muscles in the back, abdomen and legs. We also measured the perceived local discomfort. In the static holding task we determined the endurance, defined as the time that people could continue without passing a specified discomfort threshold.In the assembly task we found lower muscle activity (by 35-38%) and lower discomfort in the low back when wearing the exoskeleton. Additionally, the hip extensor activity was reduced. The exoskeleton led to more discomfort in the chest region. In the task of static holding, we observed that exoskeleton use led to an increase in endurance time from 3.2 to 9.7 min, on average.The results illustrate the good potential of this passive exoskeleton to reduce the internal muscle forces and (reactive) spinal forces in the lumbar region. However, the adoption of an over-extended knee position might be, among others, one of the concerns when using the exoskeleton.

LanguageEnglish
Pages212-217
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Volume54
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016

Fingerprint

endurance
Muscle
Durability
Muscles
Back Muscles
Lumbosacral Region
Electromyography
Low Back Pain
Posture
Abdomen
Hip
Leg
Knee
Thorax
pain
time

Keywords

  • Discomfort
  • Electromyography
  • Endurance
  • Exoskeleton
  • Industry
  • Trunk bending

Cite this

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abstract = "Exoskeletons may form a new strategy to reduce the risk of developing low back pain in stressful jobs. In the present study we examined the potential of a so-called passive exoskeleton on muscle activity, discomfort and endurance time in prolonged forward-bended working postures.Eighteen subjects performed two tasks: a simulated assembly task with the trunk in a forward-bended position and static holding of the same trunk position without further activity. We measured the electromyography for muscles in the back, abdomen and legs. We also measured the perceived local discomfort. In the static holding task we determined the endurance, defined as the time that people could continue without passing a specified discomfort threshold.In the assembly task we found lower muscle activity (by 35-38{\%}) and lower discomfort in the low back when wearing the exoskeleton. Additionally, the hip extensor activity was reduced. The exoskeleton led to more discomfort in the chest region. In the task of static holding, we observed that exoskeleton use led to an increase in endurance time from 3.2 to 9.7 min, on average.The results illustrate the good potential of this passive exoskeleton to reduce the internal muscle forces and (reactive) spinal forces in the lumbar region. However, the adoption of an over-extended knee position might be, among others, one of the concerns when using the exoskeleton.",
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The effects of a passive exoskeleton on muscle activity, discomfort and endurance time in forward bending work. / Bosch, Tim; van Eck, Jennifer; Knitel, Karlijn; de Looze, Michiel.

In: Applied Ergonomics, Vol. 54, 01.05.2016, p. 212-217.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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