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Interview with Bas Wagemaker (Laevo BV.) : People behind the Exoskeleton Industry - Series

In this series of short interviews, we introduce you to the people behind the great companies in the exoskeleton world. If you want to successfully implement an industrial exoskeleton in your business, you have to pay attention to two points:

1. choosing the right solution, respectively a solution that is the right fit to the requirements from all 75+ industrial solutions and not the solution that is advertised with the biggest marketing budget.

2. the properly trained and accompanied implementation in the company, so that the solutions are also sustainably intrinsically motivated.

Which solution is the right one is therefore only decided on the basis of technical details, but also which company is trusted to do this. For trust someone, you have to learn a little bit more about the people behind. This is the case because we are doing these interviews.

In these interviews, we introduce you to the people behind the companies, patents and inventions to get to know them better and to understand the drive behind the vision even better.

First of all, Bas Wagemaker from Laevo agreed to give us an interview and we thank him very much for the trust, the honest words and the insight into one of the most exciting exoskeleton heads. Thank you Bas and good luck for the future!

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Interview:

Who are you and what do you do?


Bas: "I am Bas Wagemaker and I am the General Manager of Laevo Exoskeletons. I am responsible
for the operations within the company. My highest priority is to ensure that the amazing
Laevo team has everything they need to excel during their daily work and to develop
themselves."

What, when and where was your first contact with exoskeletons?


Bas: "I did my Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and specialized during my Masters in bio-.
mechanical design at Delft University of Technology. My first contact with exoskeletons was
at a course during my studies. The fact that people are helped in their daily life by wearable
mechanical technology fascinated me."

How do you think the market will develop in 5 and 10 years?


Bas: "Just a few years ago, one of the most common questions we got was 'what is an
exoskeleton?'. Right now, most people we meet for the first time ask 'which exoskeleton is
this?'. This illustrates the market development of the past years: exoskeletons are still a new
and innovative technology, but gain interest and publicity by the public. I expect that the
market will further develop in this direction. Within a few years, almost everyone will know
the different types of exoskeletons and their applications."

What are the biggest obstacles / bottlenecks you currently see in the distribution of
exoskeletons?


Bas: "I am not seeing obstacles, only challenges. ūüėČ
We came to the point that in general, exoskeletons are proven effective and ready to
support workers during specific tasks. However, we see another challenge occur: the
implementation of the exoskeleton. Often, existing work protocols, patterns and habits need
to be adapted to the exoskeleton. This can be very complicated: most companies and
workers are doing their processes and jobs in a similar manner for years and years. Adapting
these ingrained patterns to the exoskeleton is not easy and takes a considerable amount of
time and effort. Finding the right exoskeleton for your application is just the beginning, the
key to success lies in the right implementation."

How did you come to your current role at Laevo?


Bas: "I started as an intern at Laevo Exoskeletons during my Masters in 2018. I also performed my
graduation research at Laevo Exoskeletons, after which I started as Mechanical Engineer
working on the development of the newest generation of Laevo exoskeletons: the FLEX.
During the following years, I focused more on developing myself as a manager. Right now, I
am responsible for the operations and the Laevo team."

Tell us something about Laevo, like what also drives you and something about your size or
company?


Bas: "I am fascinated by the conjunction between (mechanical) technology and the human. My
career goal is to help people with my technical knowledge: I want to make the world a better
place. We receive emails of customers from all around the world, expressing their gratitude
and how the exoskeleton changed their life. People that could not perform their work or enjoy their free time because of back pain, are now free of pain thanks to the Laevo
exoskeletons. That is what drives me, and the rest of the Laevo team."

Tell us something about yourself that you haven't revealed elsewhere that surprises us?


Bas: "I am fascinated by time and clocks. When I was still studying, every time I traveled to
university I walked by a store that displayed a clock that expresses the time in words. So,
instead of showing the time by the two hands of the clock, it lights up certain words
engraved in its front panel to tell the time. The price was around ‚ā¨3000, so I could not afford
it and, being an engineering student, decided to make one myself. I actually made several of
them, every time improving them a little. I gave them away as presents (we have one at the
office at Laevo) and now my retired father is starting up a business with them."

What's the best way for you to switch off?


Bas: "Being in nature. After a busy workday or week, I enjoy letting go my thoughts by walking or
biking (I am Dutch after all) in nature. Enjoying the forest, the beach or the dunes without
thinking helps me to clear my mind and relax."

Who would you like to spend a day with?


Bas: "Being a technology geek, I would say either Leonardo da Vinci or Isaac Newton. They both
contributed greatly to the field of engineering and I would be very curious what they would
think of our exoskeletons. ;)"

What was the last book you read and which one can you recommend?


Bas: "I would really recommend the (originally Dutch) book 'Humankind: A Hopeful History'. The
book tells about the history of humankind, but also provide a realistic but positive outlook
for the future. I really enjoyed reading it, but it also taught me a lot about why we are as we are.
Are."

What was your best moment at Laevo?


Bas: "There are multiple, actually. It was amazing to have the first Laevo FLEX exoskeleton in our
hands after years of development. Seeing all our efforts come together in a high-quality
state-of-the-art product was awesome. Also, the reactions of our customers about how our
exoskeletons support them daily will never stop to amaze and inspire me. Being able to help
hard working people all around the world is what keeps us going. We have got your back."

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About Laevo:

Founded on September 4th 2013, Laevo is a pioneering company dedicated to the design of passive exoskeletons. Our vision is to develop accessible exoskeletons that effectively safeguard workers from debilitating back pain, enabling them to excel in every task and environment. In 2015, we proudly introduced the Laevo V2 exoskeleton, which marked a significant milestone as one of the earliest commercially available back exoskeletons. The Laevo V2 laid the foundation for our continuous journey of improvement and innovation. Drawing valuable insights from the market, we refined the Laevo V2 to deliver exceptional performance and user experience. In 2022, we launched the Laevo FLEX (V3.0), the latest generation of our exoskeleton line. The FLEX is offers enhanced support, improved comfort, and great freedom of motion. With its unique and patented walking-differential mechanism and optimized interfaces, the FLEX offers a significant amount of support without compromising on comfort.

Backed by our extensive expertise in designing and implementing exoskeleton solutions, Laevo remains dedicated to our mission of eradicating work-related lower back pain. We are committed to pushing the boundaries of exoskeleton technology and continuously improving our Laevo exoskeletons, ensuring they provide relief and support for workers across various industries.

Location
Laevo BV.
Patrijsweg 30
2289 EX Rijswijk
Netherlands

Tom Illauer

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