Robotic Exoskeleton For Construction Workers

Exoskeletons for construction workers?

Researchers at Nagoya University in Japan are working to provide construction workers with help in performing those tasks that everyone who has drywalled a garage knows all too well. Ever tried holding a heavy panel (or other object) over your head, while simultaneously trying to screw it or nail it into place?


(Wearable robotic exoskeleton for construction workers [pdf])

"The work of fitting ceiling boards is one of the hardest in carpentry, as it requires large muscular power. Hence there is a need to develop assisting apparatus for such work. In order to use this apparatus anywhere a wearable robot is the most suitable. As the robot must be autonomous and lightweight, a design requiring low power is proposed. A semi-active control method has been developed using springs, which requires low energy but satisfies the requirements of compliance and assistive force. In this paper several aspects of design, control and experiments of the developed prototype is explained. The experimental results prove that the robot reduces the muscular fatigue of carpentry worker by providing suitable assistive force." Keywords: wearable robot, carpentry work, semi-active device.


(Diagram of wearable robotic exoskeleton for construction workers [pdf])

Tests show that the prototype device shown above really does make it easier for workers to perform this necessary task. Since this is a prototype only, you won't be seeing this device for sale in your local hardware store anytime soon. However, as their paper points out, this should be available in time for an (ahem) older population of workers (or home-improvers) to get a few more years of work into construction work.

Exoskeletons in the news:

Via Robotic arm to help builders on the job.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/31/2008)

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