Back in 2018, Ford announced that it would be supplying its assembly plant workers with exoskeletons called the EksoVest in order to help prevent work accidents and reduce fatigue for its employees.
Now, the company that makes those exoskeletons, Ekso Bionics, has announced that it is releasing a lighter, more airy model with the same workload capacity as before.
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Using only gas springs, Ekso Bionics' original EksoVest provided a user-adjustable 5 to 15 lb (2.3 to 6.8 kg) of lift support to each arm.
When announcing its partnership with Ekso Bionics in 2018, Bruce Hettle, Ford group vice president, Manufacturing and Labor Affairs, said in a statement that "Building vehicles is physically a tough job. We care about our employees and are trying to help them do their jobs with the least amount of wear and tear on their bodies possible."
The company's newly announced Evo Upper Body Exoskeleton offers the same amount of support as its previous model, but boasts a new multi-link design that makes it lighter and more flexible, meaning it is more comfortable for the user, and thus will further enhance the company's goal of reducing work fatigue. Have a look at the video below to see the exoskeleton in use.
The Evo Upper Body Exoskeleton now leaves the user's back exposed meaning they will feel cooler while working. As NewAtlas points out, the new suit is still compatible with third-party safety harnesses that are required for elevated work.
"EVO, the next evolution of EksoVest, is the world’s most durable, naturally-tracking, and assistive exoskeleton vest," Ekso Bionics explains on its website.
"EVO features additional technology we’ve been working on, based on market feedback. We’ve improved the design, manufacturing, and ergonomics to ensure that EVO delivers an exceptional user experience for workers of all sizes and trades."