Exoskeletal arm support system aims to assist industrial motion
Equipois Inc., designer and manufacturer of the zeroG mechanical arm technology, designed the x-Ar, an exoskeletal arm support system for manual tasks. Designed to assist with a wide range of activities in industries where people work with their arms outstretched for long periods of time, the x-Ar simply attaches to a human’s arm and becomes, in essence, a formidable mechanical arm, reportedly providing dynamic support throughout the user’s range of motion, while significantly minimizing fatigue and discomfort.
Eric Golden, president and CEO of Equipois said, “We believe that the human hand guided by the human brain is the most powerful and versatile tool ever created. The x-Ar enhances that tool, rather than trying to mimic or replace it, and should significantly impact the workplace across diverse industries.”
Brian Hernandez, Environmental Health & Safety Manager for Ceradyne Corporation said, “We tested x-Ar as part of the pilot program… The x-Ar is a great tool to reduce stress and fatigue associated with work-related repetitive motion tasks involving the arms, wrists, shoulders, and neck. The use of x-Ar in these high exposure ergonomic areas could greatly improve and contribute to a reduction in work related sprains, strains, and other musculoskeletal disorders associated with work related repetitive motion injuries.”
The x-Ar is a descendent of Equipois’s zeroG mechanical arm technology, which holds tools and parts enabling operators to manipulate them as if weightless, but with practically unlimited freedom of motion. zeroG has been adopted as a best practice by some of the world’s top manufacturing companies and has earned Equipois numerous honors, including being named “Most Innovative Company in North America” by 2010 International “Stevie” Awards. zeroG eliminates workplace injuries and boosts productivity, with an annual ROI up to 500%.
The technology driving both the zeroG and x-Ar product lines was invented by Garrett Brown, inventor of the Steadicam camera stabilization system. The Steadicam revolutionized the movie and television industries by allowing camera operators to achieve shots never thought possible. Equipois believes that the x-Ar will change the way people work in a broad range of industries, from manufacturing to health care to bioresearch. The company also has versions under development to help disabled persons control their arms and legs, enabling them to perform basic life tasks.
– Edited by Gust Gianos, Control Engineering, www.controleng.com