Two primary categories have emerged in the world of exosuits. The first is people with mobility issues who could use a little extra assistance getting around. The other is manual labor — jobs that require lifting heavy payloads and managing unwieldly tools, be it warehouse work or construction.
Of course, these aren’t the only jobs that are hard on the human body. The latest exosuit demoed by German Bionic occupies an interesting middle ground. Apogee+ is focused on the healthcare market, but specifically targeted at workers. Jobs like nursing often require long hours spent standing, walking around and bending over — the sorts of things that can really wear on people.
These are all things that were severely exacerbated during the height of the pandemic, between increasing hospitalization rates and severe understaffing.
The new suit is designed to assist in walking and lifting payloads up to 66 pounds. They’re IP54 water/dust resistant and are easy to disinfect — presumably a must-have for an environment like this.
“State-of-the-art equipment significantly contributes to making nursing and care professions more appealing,” the company’s chief product officer says in a release. “And therefore, it aids hospitals and care facilities in their pursuit of attracting and retaining a qualified and motivated workforce.”
The company will be showcasing the tech at an upcoming medical conference in Germany which is, perhaps, why we’re clearly looking at some mockups here. Obviously pricing is important. Such systems may well be out of reach for many facilities. The company is advertising “flexible procurement models,” with either leases or outright purchase.
I can certainly see a move toward these sorts of assistive wearables, moving forward. Though, while the company describes the system as “small, lightweight and slim,” I ultimately wonder how quick establishments will be to adopt such technology in its current form. I will say that the handles in the above image are an interesting aspect to the design, giving the patient an appropriate spot to grip, while distributing the weight strain on the healthcare worker.