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DHM Supported Assessment of the Effects of using an Exoskeleton during Work

Francisco Garcia Rivera, Dan Högberg, Maurice Lamb, Estela Perez Luque (2022). DHM Supported Assessment of the Effects of using an Exoskeleton during Work. International Journal of Human Factors Modelling and Simulation, Vol. 7(3/4), pp. 231-246.


Recently, exoskeletons have been gaining popularity in many industries, primarily for supporting manual assembly tasks. Due to the relative novelty of exoskeleton technologies, knowledge about the consequences of using these devices at workstations is still developing. Digital human modelling (DHM) and ergonomic evaluation tools may be of particular use in this context. However, there are no standard integrations of DHM and ergonomic assessment tools for assessing exoskeletons. This paper proposes a general method for evaluating the ergonomic effects of introducing an exoskeleton in a production context using DHM simulation tools combined with a modified existing ergonomic assessment framework. More specifically, we propose adapting the Assembly Specific Force Atlas tool to evaluate exoskeletons by increasing the risk level threshold proportionally to the amount of torque that the exoskeleton reduces in the glenohumeral joint. We illustrate this adaptation in a DHM tool. We believe the proposed methodology and the corresponding workflow can be helpful for decision-makers and stakeholders when considering implementing exoskeletons in a production environment.



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