Exoskeleton trials readied at Construction Scotland Innovation Centre

07 October 2021 - Published by Amy McCready

Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) is readying advanced measuring equipment, a roofing rig and plasterboarding bay in preparation for upcoming exoskeleton field trials, taking place at its Innovation Factory in Scotland.

The labs, as part of the EXSKALLERATE project, are providing small to medium businesses the opportunity to experience, test and provide feedback on exoskeleton technology. The results of the trials will be disseminated to project research partners and exoskeleton developers.

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The trials will measure movements using GOM’s ARAMIS SRX. This equipment uses full-field imaging and 3D digitization techniques to make dynamic biomechanical measurements, such as movement, force, load and strain testing. 

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The timber roofing rig will provide an effective simulation of lifting and laying of roof tiles. This will be part of one of four construction tasks measured – others will include plasterboarding, lifting and fixing floorboards, scaffolding, which will also be simulated at the factory. Common construction movements are often repetitive, demanding, and can over decades lead to body deterioration and musculoskeletal injuries, so having a simulation of real work is important to replicate and measure real on-site movement.

CSIC will be using Herowear Apex and the Auxivo Liftsuit exoskeletons for the construction tasks. These are passive upper body, hip and back exoskeletons. Some test results will focus on metrics such as overall performance, load and fatigue reduction, and the ease of use for individuals.

This technology and collaboration have made a significant contribution towards creating authentic and measured field trials.

CSIC, the UK representative in the EXSKALLERATE project, aims for these trials to be a catalyst for change in health, safety and productivity in construction through encouraging the adoption of this technology.

The centre will soon be welcoming SMEs in order to further understand the need, demand and barriers for exoskeletons. UK-based construction and manufacturing companies may involve themselves in the trials through CSIC’s Innovation Manager Alan Johnston, ajohnston@cs-ic.org, and take advantage of this opportunity.

Alan Johnston says “our field labs are making strong progress – this is an exciting time for the project. Now with this equipment, and initial testing, the trials are taking shape. We are looking forward to welcoming companies into our Innovation Factory soon and giving these small businesses the opportunity to learn more about this technology which could really benefit them.”