What sounds like science fiction is already a reality for many employees in the middle of Europe: Exoskeletons. The wearables are designed to keep employees healthy and support them in their work.
A study by Comau and IUVO, a spin-off of the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (Pisa), has shown that exoskeletons can reduce the exertion of port workers by up to 30 percent. According to a press release, this can have a positive effect on the health and performance of employees.
The study focuses on the two exoskeletons from Comau, the Mate-XT and the Mate-XB. According to the manufacturer, Mate-XT helps to reduce muscle strain on the upper limbs during static or repetitive overhead work. Mate-XB, on the other hand, is designed to relieve the muscles in the lumbar region when handling heavy objects. In a field trial, twelve employees from the Livorno port area were fitted with the exoskeletons for six months.
IUVO and Comau carried out precise measurements of the workers' muscle activity during the initial phase of the project. The test subjects were also asked to regularly evaluate their daily work routine with the exoskeletons. According to Comau, the port workers reported the positive effects that the exoskeletons had on their work and performance.