Ottobock Bringing Exoskeletons to Construction

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The exoskeleton reduces the peak load on the worker's muscles and relieves shoulders.

Photograph courtesy of Ottobock.

Ottobock, Duderstadt, Germany, entered into a technology partnership with the Hilti Group, a construction technology group in Lichtenstein, to develop exoskeletal systems. The companies are combining their knowledge in the fields of safety, health protection, and biomechanics to expand their portfolio of ergonomic solutions and will cooperate in research and development.

"We are building on our experience gained from more than 500 successful exoskeleton projects, including in the automotive industry and various trades," said Dr. Sönke Rössing, head of Ottobock Industrials. "There is a great deal of potential for solutions that reduce the physical strain on workers in the construction industry." The division has been developing industrial exoskeletons since 2012.

Hilti will launch the first joint product, a passive model that does not require an energy supply, this autumn. The weight of the user's arms is transferred to the hips via forearm supports using mechanical cable pulling technology, reducing the peak load on the muscles and relieving shoulders by up to 47 percent.