EXSKALLERATE Meeting in Delft
The group came together to discuss progress, challenges, and the potential future of exoskeletons and their widespread adoption. Project coordinator, Innovation Quarter hosted the meeting at RoboHouse: an international laboratory of robotics, electronics and programming in Delft, Netherlands.
The EXSKALLERATE project is a collaboration between over 12 partners from 6 North Sea Region countries. Coming together, the group were finally able to try some of the different suits on for themselves.
As well as acting as a great ice-breaker, trying out the different exoskeletons and exosuits allowed partners to experience the various suit applications, limitations and functionality. The EXSKALLERATE project is currently undertaking research on a number of exosuits and exoskeletons, but each partner is focussing on only a few of these. When choosing a suit, it is important to understand its intended function. Different suits designs support specific areas of the body and so are only suited for certain tasks.
One common theme of the day centred around one of the consortiums’ goals: sharing. The day saw the project sharing suits, experiences and next steps.
Each partner updated on the progress of pilot sites and some gave presentations on their area of expertise.
During University of Gävle’s update, the project heard from a real exoskeleton user and advocate. One of the pilot site participants dialled in from Sweden to discuss her experience, which was very positive. The consortium were able to ask questions about any barriers she faced when wearing the suit and her thoughts on the long-term cost benefit of investing in one.
In that vein, TNO gave a live demonstration of their cost-benefit tool available for SMEs to find out more about how an exoskeletons fits into their company’s strategy.
This meeting followed shortly after BE-ST had hosted a webinar on shaping the future of exoskeletons. NMIS, Strathclyde University and BE-ST were able to draw key takeaways from the webinar. By gathering data collected as polls during the webinar, they found:
- The potential for suits to reduce injuries at work is one of user’s most important considerations.
- Comfort is another strong deciding factor.
- People would ideally prefer only to wear the suits at key times or activities.
- Cost is not a main driving requirement.
- People would like real-life data, case studies and info on the impact exoskeletons have.
It was great to finally get together, and the consortium is looking forward to the next opportunity to meet and continue collaborating on this great project!