What is an Exoskeleton?
Defined by DOZRHUB, an exoskeleton is a motorized machine usually made from metal that is built to fit on a person’s body. The machine is created to multiply the strength of its wearer and facilitate proper body mechanics. It makes it easier to lift objects and eases strain on the body.
Exoskeletons can be full body suits, or be created to only be worn on specific parts of the body. For example, power gloves can be worn to improve dexterity for those experiencing weakness or other issues grasping tools and materials.
Technology is continually evolving and making revolutionary changes to how the construction market operates and exoskeletons are predicted to be a real game changer. In its latest robotics report, ABI Research, a leader in technology market intelligence, predicts the robotic exoskeleton sector to reach $1.8 billion in 2025, up from $68 million in 2014.
As many as 44 million workers in the European Union (EU) are affected by workplace-related musculoskeletal disorders. This is a really scary number which can be massively reduced by utilising exoskeletons.
Exoskeletons have been designed to take the brunt of the load, allowing workers to carry heavier loads whilst reducing the risk of strain or injury from heavy lifting accidents.
Often, careers in construction can involve repetitive strenuous lifting tasks which can have damaging, long term effects on joints and muscles. Exoskeletons significantly reduce this risk, allowing individuals to work safer, be more productive and feel comfortable in their day to day activities.
Exoskeletons boost productivity, allowing individuals to lift heavier and conduct tasks which the human body alone would restrict. Tasks can be completed faster, deadlines met earlier and there are less staff required to conduct work duties. These efficiency improvements can dramatically improve a businesses’ bottom line by reducing the number of laborers needed on-site, as well as reduce lost man-hours from injury.
There are many robotic developments which are eradicating the need for humans, concluding in jobs becoming redundant. However, exoskeletons rely on humans to operate – they do not replace people – protecting jobs from becoming obsolete altogether. Not only do they not replace jobs, they are prolonging older workers careers. No longer do workers need to cut their career short due to injury or reduced ability which can occur with aging.
Furthermore, the sci-fi feel of the technology could be a great USP to attract younger generations to consider a career in the industry. Tech is becoming heavily integrated in the market, diversifying roles and responsibilities, creating new opportunities for the tech-savvy generations to come.
The technology has the ability to attract more women into the sector. The technology ultimately improves and heightens physical capabilities which opens the net to a much wider talent pool who may have previously thought they don’t have the physical strength. This would be a fantastic opportunity to diversify a heavily male dominated sector and bring more youth into the workforce – offering a dynamic, modern and exciting career!
Exoskeletons are one of the many upcoming technologies that are changing our world. They are a real asset to an individual and a business – improving safety and productivity hand in hand. For the product to really take off and become more widely adopted, further research is needed and costs need to be considered, that said, significant investment and developments are predicted over the next few years so watch this space!