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Thu October 21 2021

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Exoskeleton trials set to start

14 Oct The Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) is getting ready to start field trials that will enable small to medium-sized businesses to put exoskeletons through their paces.

It is preparing the measuring equipment, a roofing rig and a plaster-boarding bay in readiness for the tests, which will take place at its Innovation Factory.

The labs are providing the opportunity for testing as part of the North Sea Region Interreg Exskallerate project.

The centre will soon be welcoming SMEs in order to increase understanding of the need, demand and barriers for exoskeletons. UK-based construction and manufacturing companies may involve themselves in the trials by contacting CSIC’s innovation manager Alan Johnston. Businesses will be able to experience, test and provide feedback on exoskeleton technology. The results of the trials will be disseminated to project research partners and exoskeleton developers.

Johnson said: “Our field labs are making strong progress – this is an exciting time for the project. Now with this equipment, and initial testing, the trials are taking shape. We are looking forward to welcoming companies into our Innovation Factory soon and giving these small businesses the opportunity to learn more about this technology which could really benefit them.”

The trials will measure movements using Gom’s Aramis SRX technology. The equipment uses imaging and 3D digitisation techniques to make dynamic biomechanical measurements, such as movement, force, load and strain testing.

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The timber roofing rig will provide simulation of lifting and laying of roof tiles. This will be part of one of four construction tasks measured – others will include plaster-boarding, lifting and fixing floorboards and scaffolding, which will also be simulated at the Innovation Factory.

Common construction movements are often repetitive, demanding and can over decades lead to body deterioration and musculoskeletal injuries, so having a simulation of real work is important to replicate and measure real on-site movement, said CSIC.

CSIC will be using Herowear Apex and the Auxivo Liftsuit exoskeletons for the construction tasks. These are passive upper body, hip and back exoskeletons. Some test results will focus on metrics such as overall performance, load and fatigue reduction, and the ease of use for individuals.

CSIC, the UK representative in the Exskallerate project, aims for these trials to be a catalyst for change in health, safety and productivity in construction through encouraging adoption of this technology.

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