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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Robotic suite for factory workers

The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO is partner in the Robo-Mate project, starting in September 2013. Together with 11 European partners this research project aims at designing a human-guided exoskeleton to improve work safety and enhance productivity in the industrial environment. According to the Work Foundation Alliance (UK), as many as 44 million workers in the European Union are affected by work-place related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), representing a total annual cost of more than 240 billion Euros.
The goal of the project is to develop a user-friendly intelligent cooperative light weight wearable human-robotic exoskeleton for manual handling work. Direct physical interaction using haptic technologies will be combined with perception enhancement using cognitive science programming paradigms to drive the exoskeleton, thus not requiring any programming skills from its users. Robo-Mate shall increase both efficiency and safety of manual production processes in industrial environments. This shall increase the productivity of companies and lower the currently high costs induced by musculoskeletal disorders. The Centro Ricerche Fiat (CRF) will test the exoskeleton in their lab and on the Fiat shop floor to demonstrate the benefits of the device.
Funded with €4.5 million by the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development of the European Union (FP7), the 3-year project will be led by Prof. Dr. Hans Wernher van de Venn, Zurich University of Applied Science (ZHAW), and managed by accelopment AG in Switzerland

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