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Sat October 24 2020

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Innovation centre seeks to boost use of exoskeletons

24 Jun A team that includes Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) is launching an initiative that aims to accelerate the adoption of exoskeletons in SMEs.

The European project, Exskallerate is co-funded by the Interreg North Sea Region Programme 2014 – 2020 and will operate over the next three years. It is aimed at enhancing competitiveness and occupational health of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

A webinar tomorrow afternoon will launch the initiative. Dr Michiel de Looze of Dutch research organisation TNO will explain how exoskeleton adoption could benefit companies and InnovationQuarter will introduce the Exskallerate project.

Anton Duisterwinkel, coordinator of Exskallerate at InnovationQuarter, said: “People have to work for longer periods in our ageing society. We strive to help people in the manufacturing and building industries to do that in a healthy and happy way by accelerating the uptake of exoskeletons. Once established in these industries, we expect that other industries, such as logistics and agriculture, will follow rapidly.”

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CSIC said that it is believed that as many as 44 million workers in the European Union (EU) are affected by workplace-related musculoskeletal disorders, resulting in significant costs to industry through absence and reduced productivity. 

CSIC director of innovation and engagement Lucy Black said: “Innovative wearable technology like exoskeleton devices have the potential to transform the construction and manufacturing industries by improving safety and efficiency, and reducing the long-term costs associated with poor employee health and sickness. It can support workers to increase their quality of life at work by decreasing the number of musculoskeletal injuries where heavy physical work can lead to severe health issues, reducing costs for a company in the long run.”

According to research conducted by the Exskallerate partners, exoskeleton use could alleviate 10% to 40% of muscle peak loads for passive exoskeletons, and up to 80% for active.

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