By Brian D. Lowe, PhD; Robert B. Dick, PhD, Captain USPHS (Ret.); Stephen Hudock, PhD, CSP; and Thomas Bobick, PhD
Robotic-like suits which provide powered assist and increase human strength may conjure thoughts of sci-fi and superhero film genres. But these wearable exoskeleton devices are now a reality and the market for their applications in the workplace is projected to increase significantly in the next five years. As with any technologic innovation some of the pros and cons and barriers to adoption are not completely understood. In this blog our objectives are to: (1) describe wearable exoskeletons in the context of workplace safety and health control strategies; (2) highlight current and projected trends related to industrial applications of these technologies; and (3) invite input from our stakeholders on workplace health and safety experiences, positive or negative, with these devices.