Hyundai develops vest 'exoskeleton' for factory workers
The vest apparently uses tension to alleviate muscle stress without the need for a battery.
Hyundai has revealed its latest wearable 'exoskeleton' vest, created to reduce physical stresses on factory workers who perform overhead tasks for long hours.
The increasingly popular technology is relatively simple, using spring tension to offset the weight of tools or the wearer's own limbs. The lift 'assist' works passively, redistributing weight to the worker's hips without the need for electric motors or batteries. Some configurations have pegs that essentially serve as chair legs to provide further comfort in certain positions.
Hyundai and other companies have worked to refine the vests with more pivot points and other enhancements to make them more effective and comfortable. The Korean automaker's latest design weighs just 5.5 pounds and can be adjusted to provide up to 12 pounds of lift assistance.
The technology is particularly useful in vehicle assembly lines where some workers must reach overhead to install bolts, route wiring or attach heavy components.
The vests are still prohibitively expensive for tasks outside of factory environments, though Hyundai hopes to undercut the industry's $5,000 average price by up to 30 percent.