We have previously discussed about the advantages of the Apex HeroWear, which was designed to help with heavy loads and manual material handling, as well as reducing back pain. Comau, another industrial robotics company, has developped an exoskeleton designed to support the shoulders during overhead lifting. This exoskeleton is called the Mate-XT.
The Mate-XT exosuit is light, easy to put on and uses an adjustable cuff system to unite the different structural pieces together. Each arm has a torque generator that stores potential energy from natural movements in order to apply an assistive force. This leads to easier overhead lifting and thus reduces the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.
Why should I use the Mate-XT exosuit?
Like the Apex exosuit, the Mate-XT uses a passive system to support the shoulder muscles, without batteries or motors. According to Comau, internal research has shown that the Mate-XT reduces muscular effort by at least 30%. This research also shows that 50% of employees who used the exosuit reported better working and lifting postures. It’s important to note that the exosuit does not significantly alter the natural kinematics of the shoulders. This means that the shoulder muscles do not naturally weaken as a result of using the exosuit.
Which exosuit should I use?
In general, the Apex exosuit and the Mate-XT are very similar. They both work using a passive system and do not interefere with natural human movement. However, both exosuits have different applications. The Mate-XT is better suited for tasks which require overhead lifting or repetitive overhead tasks. In contrast, the Apex exosuit would be better utilized in an environment with heavy loads and manual material handling.