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Current Research

Evaluation of Trunk and Arm Support Exoskeletons for Construction

This project will conduct a mixed-methods assessment of passive occupational exoskeletons (EXOs) to: understand the perspectives of a broad set of industry stakeholders, quantify the benefits and risks of EXO use, facilitate adoption, and prevent unexpected consequences.

Carisa Harris-Adamson
University of California, San Francisco
Email: Carisa.Harris-Adamson@ucsf.edu

Maury Nussbaum
Virginia Tech
Email: nussbaum@vt.edu

Research Team: Abiola Akanmu, Federico Arippa, Alan Barr, Nancy Guiterrez, Sunwook Kim, David Rempel, and Divya Srinivasan

The rapidly emerging technology of occupational exoskeletons (EXOs) has the potential to benefit construction workers.  The ability of EXOs to provide assistive forces, especially for movements involving the back or shoulder, can reduce demands on areas of the body most affected by work-related musculoskeletal disorders. EXOs could also make construction work accessible to a broader population. Passive EXOs, which require no actuators or power supply, are the main focus of the study, as they are more likely to be widely adopted, being lighter, simpler, and more cost-effective.  Currently, however, evidence is insufficient to support the safe and effective use of EXOs in construction.  This project will conduct a mixed-methods assessment of EXO to: understand the perspectives of a broad set of industry stakeholders, quantify the benefits and risks of EXO use, facilitate adoption, and prevent unexpected consequences.

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