PHOENIX — Over eight weeks, aerial porters at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, got a taste of superhuman strength thanks to a device designed by Arizona State University scientists.
The project’s developer, Dr. Thomas Sugar said that “I believe the future of exoskeletons will boom.”
Sugar has been designing robotics for more than 30 years. His latest project was created when the military demanded a device that could prevent injuries to the musculoskeletal system in airmen during heavy lifting and pushing.
Sugar stated that the Air Force asked him to assist aerial porters. “Aerial porters must load and unload planes quickly and efficiently.
The device’s sensors and small motors give the wearer a boost in their legs when they do certain movements. This results in a roughly 30% increase in strength.
The lightweight exoskeleton system was tested by Airman 1st-Class Xavier Archangel.
He and his crew had to load huge pallets with personal protective equipment and vaccine doses, totaling 10,000 pounds.
Archangel stated, “Helps with stability, back stability and hip stability, as well as your overall lifting technique.”
It’s very comfortable once it’s fitted and on your body. It can be worn all day,” Tech. Tech. Landon Jensen said.
The goal of the device isn’t to allow the wearer to lift more weight or even work faster.
Sugar stated that “we know that their task was difficult and that we want to make it easier and more enjoyable with less fatigue.” “When we finished, the soldiers asked to continue using them.”
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Center’s 2019 study, aerial porters are among the most injured in the Air Force. They account for more than $31,000,000 in annual disability benefits.
Jensen stated that the suit would help to prevent our airmen from being injured when they move on to greater and better opportunities or become career airmen or whatever it may be.
The device is expected to be commercialized by the developers, with future applications in manufacturing and shipping.
This story was originally published by Cameron Polom on Scripps station KNXV in Phoenix.