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Introduction and Testing of a Passive Exoskeleton in an Industrial Working Environment

  • Steven Amandels
  • Hans Op het Eyndt
  • Liesbeth Daenen
  • Veerle Hermans
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 820)

Abstract

Background: Commercial availability of passive exoskeletons, based on the use of springs and durable in an industrial setting, made the these devices much more accessible. However, there is limited evidence of the effect of these devices on physiological aspects, factors outside the single-task regulated laboratory environment and, discomfort and acceptance by the employee. Objective: This study aimed at evaluating the effect of a passive exoskeleton on muscle activity, kinematics and acceptance by employees on multi-task workstations on the shop floor. Methodology: Starting with an individual instruction course, nine participants were encouraged to test the device (Laevo, V2.4) during three weeks. After this period, motion and surface EMG were measured during two consecutive periods of executing daily tasks for at least 30 min (with exoskeleton and without exoskeleton). Results: Results show that RMS values were significantly higher for the Trapezius muscle with the exoskeleton (Mdn = 44.02) compared to the measuring period without the device (Mdn = 34.83, T = 0, p < 0.05, r = −.73); No differences were found for Erector Spinae and Biceps Femoris muscle activity. Participants reported significantly higher discomfort scores for the upper back/chest and thigh region with the exoskeleton (both p < 0.05, r = −.68). Conclusion: Results show high discomfort scores and no difference in lower back muscle activity possibly as a result of an inadequate amount of resistance given by the exoskeleton while bending over.

Keywords

Passive exoskeleton Muscle activity Discomfort Acceptance Industry 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Amandels
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hans Op het Eyndt
    • 2
  • Liesbeth Daenen
    • 3
    • 4
  • Veerle Hermans
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.University College OdiseeBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Ergonomics, Group IDEWE (External Service for Prevention and Protection at Work)Belgium Sciences Vrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Knowledge, Information and Research CenterGroup IDEWE (External Service for Prevention and Protection at Work)LouvainBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Human Physiology and Anatomy (KIMA), Faculty of Physical Education and PhysiotherapyVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  5. 5.Department Head of ErgonomicsGroup IDEWELouvainBelgium
  6. 6.Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, Work and Organisational Psychology (WOPS), Faculty of Psychology and EducationVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

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