14 February 2018
The exoskeleton or ‘outer skeleton’ is coLet the exoskeleton do the walking.mmonly found in nature. Creatures such as grasshoppers and cockroaches possess an exoskeleton rather than an inner endoskeleton like humans, providing support to the body and protection against predators. Robotic exoskeletons are being developed with the intention of offering humans the same kind of protection and strength that they afford in the natural world.
Unveiling the future of mobility solutions, engineers at Hyundai have developed the ‘H-Mex’, designed to perform what was once considered a miracle – helping paraplegics to walk again. It isn’t the very first exoskeleton ever developed, but with a manufacturing giant like Hyundai getting in on the act, prices for this type of paraplegic-assisting technology are sure to be driven down making it much more accessible to the masses.
“It’s really the Iron Man suit.” Mark Dipko, Director of Corporate Planning and Strategy at Hyundai Motor America
It’s now not just about changing lives for paraplegics and helping stroke victims to walk again, car giant Ford is experimenting with the exoskeleton to help prevent worker injuries and make life a little more comfortable on the production line. One robotic vest being trialled at Ford’s final assembly plant in Michigan uses spring-loaded arm mechanics to help the wearer lift their arms to install carbon cans on C-Max cars and rubber grommets on Focuses – that’s about 70 cars an hour.
“I would call it robots helping humans work rather than humans doing robots’ work.” Marty Smets, ergonomics expert, working on human systems and virtual manufacturing at Ford
There are many more exciting applications to come for exoskeleton technology, including the rescue of earthquake victims, where equipment that’s very flexible is needed to intervene rapidly without damaging the victim.
“They can have a medical restorative function, or it can extend to augmenting human function and that might be the case for military systems, rescue services or in factories where perhaps large or heavy materials need to be handled.” Prof Chris Melhuish, director of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory
As futuristic mobility solutions become a reality, there will potentially be millions of new devices that will need to be updated and kept safe from hackers, especially if we update these robotic body parts as often as we upgrade our mobile tech. So the importance of responsible computer recycling has never been more vital, if you want to keep your personal and organisational secrets to yourself and help to reduce the mounting e-waste problem around the globe. If your company is one that is committed to the ethical recycling of its obsolete computers and technology products, make sure secure and environmentally friendly computer recycling that adheres to proper recycling regulations is part of your consideration, to ensure ultimate data security. It’s also important to be aware that companies are now legally obliged to safely dispose of potentially sensitive information in accordance with current security laws and the Data Protection Act of 1998. Be sure only to use a computer recycling company that operates in accordance with, and preferably exce