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Biomechanical Model-Based Development of an Active Occupational Upper-Limb Exoskeleton to Support Healthcare Workers in the Surgery Waiting Room

: Tröster, Mark; Wagner, David; Müller-Graf, Felix; Maufroy, Christophe; Schneider, Urs; Bauernhansl, Thomas

Volltext ()

International journal of environmental research and public health : IJERPH 17 (2020), Nr.14, Art. 5140, 16 S.
ISSN: 1661-7827
ISSN: 1660-4601
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IPA ()
Ergonomie; Exoskelett; Gesundheit; Körperliche Belastung

Occupational ergonomics in healthcare is an increasing challenge we have to handle in the near future. Physical assistive systems, so-called exoskeletons, are promising solutions to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). Manual handling like pushing, pulling, holding and lifting during healthcare activities require practical and biomechanical effective assistive devices. In this article, a musculoskeletal-model-based development of an assistive exoskeleton is described for manual patient transfer in the surgery waiting room. For that purpose, kinematic data collected with an experimental set-up reproducing real patient transfer conditions are first used to define the kinetic boundary conditions for the model-based development approach. Model-based analysis reveals significant relief potential in the lower back and shoulder area of the musculoskeletal apparatus. This is corroborated by subjective feedback collected during measurements with real surgery assistants. A shoulder–arm exoskeleton design is then proposed, optimized and evaluated within the same simulation framework. The presented results illustrate the potential for the proposed design to reduce significantly joint compressions and muscle activities in the shoulder complex in the considered patient transfer scenarios.