Robotic exosuit aids caregivers with heavy lifting
A new robotic skeleton has been launched to aid heavy lifting and walking in the day-to-day lives of caregivers.
Robotics brand, German Bionic, has developed an ‘exosuit’ for caregivers to wear that can help relieve the weight of patients when performing tasks such as transferring them between beds and wheelchairs, facilitating examinations, bathing, and more.
The robotics firm built Apogee+ after its research found that care professionals had special requirements, such as grip for patients to hold on to, and a need for a closed design with no exposed mechanical parts in order to avoid injury.
Apogee+ compensates up to 66 pounds (30 kilograms) of weight per lifting movement and offers ergonomic support where tasks require awkwardly positioning, such as lifting patients from one place to another.
“Without adequate support, all these tasks are hazardous to health in the medium to long term and can lead to care workers leaving the profession prematurely,” says Armin G. Schmidt, founder and CEO of German Bionic.
The caregiver shortage can be felt on a global scale, as the US finds that nearly 11,000 hours of personal care are going unstaffed each week in the state of Maine, and over 23,000 caregiving positions are open in the state of Wisconsin.
In the UK, reports suggest that 8.2% of care roles are unfilled, about 100,000 carers.
“This circumstance is neither socially nor economically acceptable in times of an acute shortage of skilled nursing staff,” added Schmidt.
German Bionic first produced exoskeletons for workers in factory and construction environments. Called Apogee and Cray X, the exoskeletons are wearable tools that also support lifting and walking with heavy equipment.
More generally, the healthcare sector is seeing a surge in tech investment, as the UK bids to invest £100 million towards AI-powered research for cancer and dementia treatments last week.
Plus, earlier this year, new research by the University of Edinburgh discovered an AI algorithm that can detect a heart attack with better speed and accuracy.
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