An Effective and Affordable Exoskeleton that Reduces the Risk of Work-Related Back Injuries
backX is a novel industrial exoskeleton that substantially augments its wearer and reduces the forces and torques on a wearer’s lower back region (L5/S1 disc) by an average of 60% while the wearer is stooping, lifting objects, bending or reaching. backX augments the wearer’s strength and can reduce the risk of back injuries among workers. Designed for all-day wear, backX never impedes natural movements and the wearer can walk, ascend and descend stairs and ladders, drive automobiles, ride bicycles, run and perform any maneuver with absolutely no restriction. The following publications represent the experimental studies that show how backX substantially decreases the forces at the lower back and muscle fatigue during bending and reaching operations.
Decreasing Muscle Activities. This study finds that average muscle activities of the thoracic and lumbar erector spinae muscles among equal populations of male and female subjects, wearing backX while maintaining forward bending postures, are reduced by 75% and 56% respectively. Title: Evaluation of Trunk-Supporting Exoskeleton, Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2019 Annual Meeting
Increasing Productivity. This study finds that the time the subjects could hold a back-straining posture after a repetitive lifting session increases by 52% if the subjects wear the backX. Title: Evaluation of a Trunk Supporting Exoskeleton for reducing Muscle Fatigue, Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2019 Annual Meeting
– Compatible with your Personal Equipment
backX is designed to integrate with standard safety harnesses and tool belts to maintain their functionality. backX provides no discomfort when worn in conjunction with a standard safety harness. In colder environments, backX can be comfortably worn under clothing or jackets. backX further includes pouches to hold cooling and heating packs for extreme weather.
- Reduce Back Strain: Reduces compression on the spine at L5/S1 disc by an average of 60%
- Zero Impedance: Ascending and descending stairs and ladders, running, driving, and biking are completely unimpeded
- Rugged: Designed to withstand harsh industrial environments, backX is waterproof, dustproof, and easy to maintain
- No Batteries: Cleverly designed to reduce the risk of back injuries without the use of batteries, actuators, or computers
- Low Profile: Follows user’s body to fit in tight spaces and changing environments
- Comfortable: Good for all day use. Minimal inhibition of arm, leg, and torso range of motion
- Quick Donning and Doffing: backX can be put on and taken off in less than 30 seconds
- Compatible: Works with safety harnesses, tool belts, and can be worn under reflective vests and work jackets
- Adjustable Size: Fits a wide range of height and waist sizes (5%-95% of human dimensions)
- Adjustable Support: Support force can be quickly changed by the user to accommodate different tasks, and fatigue level
- Optimized Support: Support force is optimized based on bending angle. Does not impede non-bending tasks
- Modular: Can be worn with shoulderX and legX
- This can be worn by itself. Model S is compatible with legX
- Model S hardware weighs 4.9 lb (2.2 kg) and it is worn with an Exoskeleton Harness that weighs 2.5 lbs (1.1 kg)
- Model S features a frame design that keeps the rear belt open and accessible when reaching for tools.
– Significantly Reduces Back Muscle Forces during Forward Bending
A recent study by researchers at U.C. Berkeley and U.C. San Francisco showed an average 60% reduction in EMG muscle activities at four of the most injury-prone lower back muscle groups. Electrodes were placed over four erector spinae muscle groups on each of eight test subjects who were tested both while wearing and not wearing the backX. The chart shows the substantial decrease in four muscle groups’ activation while subjects were wearing the backX and stooping. TSE, in this figure, stands for Trunk Support Exoskeleton; an original technical name for backX.
Numerous uses of backX at various sites
backX is designed based on solid engineering foundations at the University of California, Berkeley and suitX with close attention to workers’ needs and feedback. The assistance and feedback from users during multiple field evaluations in construction sites, material handling and logistics settings, shipbuilding facilities, foundries, assembly lines, airport baggage handling sites, and other industries have translated into features that make both backX models suitable for a variety of work environments.
Workers in jobs with a high risk of back injury share common experiences; they all perform repetitive movements and endure prolonged periods of time in a bent posture. Statistics show that in the majority of back injury cases, workers were not lifting loads when injured. These injuries actually occurred when workers were bending down or reaching, causing the weight of their upper body to create large torques in the lower back region. As seen in the following photographs, backX augments the wearer by reducing the forces and torques on the wearer’s lower back region (L5/S1 disc) while s/he is stooping, bending and/or reaching in numerous industrial applications internationally.