With recent developments showing a lot of promise, robotic exoskeletons are about to revolutionize healthcare. The last few years have seen a substantial increase of ability for robotic exoskeleton technology, and for a good reason. In this article, we will be talking about why robotic exoskeletons are going to change the game.
The potential and the limitations
- The first and biggest pro factor is the usability itself. If these exoskeletons are applied in a factory setup, your workers will be able to lift from 150-200lbs with ease. The result? More productivity.
- The second pro lies in the customizability of the contraption. It can be modified to suit the needs of someone with a disability, or an athlete who wants to make his workouts harder. Sky’s the limit.
- Injury rates in the construction domain are 71% higher as compared to anywhere else. These products have the power to save lives and help people make their lives better by helping them walk and move again.
- The first con on the list is time-sensitive. It’s the price point of these products. These products will not be cost-effective in the beginning. But give them time—they’ll improve and become affordable for everyone.
- The second limitation is the battery life. These exoskeletons will need a better power source to work for longer durations.
- The last limitation is the limited motion range, which can somewhat be improved by design innovation. A human being can move freely in every direction—the framework of an exoskeleton restricts that movement.
Use cases are promising the impossible
The use cases of robotic exoskeletons have shown us that the potential is limitless, and the promise is amazing. We will talk about two types of use cases that showcase the potential of the technology very well.
The first use case to consider would be that of the aforementioned mobility. Whether it is a case of paralysis or walking disability, these skeletons make ease of motion a possibility. In the last couple of years, several demos were conducted on subjects who had not been able to walk for years. The skeletons helped them walk across the room with ease.
Now, let’s discuss the second case, which is related to the application of exoskeletons in the workplace. Demos have shown that these exoskeletons can help manual workers lift heavy things with ease, even for extended durations of time. This will reduce fatigue and skyrocket productivity.
Esko Bionics has created two separate departments in order to build exoskeletons for both cases mentioned above. Needless to say, other companies are following suit.
Market giants have an eye on the ball
Considering the use cases alone, it isn’t surprising that market giants like Samsung are considering making the domain their own. For any brand, the ideal time to make a dominating presence in the market is before a disruption happens—and it looks like Samsung is way ahead of the curve with its GEMS (Gait Enhancing & Motivating System).
Samsung’s GEMS units were developed over the last couple of years and they are being marketed as workout supporters/enhancers. With the help of AR, they are set to take the domain by storm.
Innovators already have a vision
Now, what Samsung is doing with exoskeletons is to focus on the fitness domain. The care domain is still ripe for the taking. Archelis Inc., a Japan-based enterprise, recently showcased the ArchelisFX. The name of the product comes from the concept of a “walkable chair,” and it sums up the purpose well. This robotic exoskeleton is designed to help people with ailments like back pain and post-surgery pain. They will be able to use it to walk and carry out their day-to-day activities with ease. The company has announced that the exoskeleton will be available on rent or for sale at approximately $5,000.
The last CES (Consumer Electronics Show) showcased a few marvels of robotics, and exoskeletons definitely took the top position, with a focus on mobility and care. However, notably absent was the company Sarcos Robotics which has partnered with Delta Airlines.
The SIDI view
As educators, innovators, and facilitators for success, we at SIDI advice our readers and associates to invest in the future. And we certainly believe robotic exoskeletons will serve as immensely useful for not only people with severe health conditions like partial paralysis but also for the everyday folk. Samsung already knows this, which is why it is positioning its product as a workout accessory. However, the applications of such a contraption are only limited by the imagination of the ones who will create disruption on the market with these.