Fit a Comau Mate exoskeleton on your shoulders and some might mistake you for a superhero off a futuristic sci-fi action movie.
In a way, they’d be right. The Comau Mate exoskeleton can replicate any movement of the shoulder while adhering to the body like a “second skin”. Proper use of the device can reduce muscle activity by up to 50 per cent for manual labourers, meaning workers can do the same amount of tasks with less fatigue.
Using a spring-based passive structure, the Comau Mate exoskeleton delivers lightweight, breathable and highly effective postural support without the need for batteries, motors or other failure-prone devices.
Ossur, a specialist in non-invasive orthopaedics, and Iuvo, a spinoff of the BioRobotics Institute, worked with Comau to create the exoskeleton in a compact, ergonomic and comfortable form.
Comau, the Pisa, Italy, headquartered company behind the device describes itself as a “global leader in advanced industrial automation solutions” and the Comau Mate marks its first wearable exoskeleton.
Maurizio Cremonini, Comau’s head of marketing, said Mate was designed in close collaboration with factory workers, so it responds directly to their specific needs.
“With our exoskeleton, they will be able to do the same tasks but with less fatigue. For Comau, this is also an extraordinary opportunity to reach a global market that grew more than 60 per cent from 2015 to last year, and is estimated to continue growing at a rate of 25 per cent each year until 2020.
“We believe that the industrial sector will represent about one third of the exoskeleton’s applications.”
The Comau Mate is a product born of the company’s ‘Humanufacturing Technology’ strategy, a concept in which people remain at the centre of the smart factory, but together with cutting-edge, digital tools, enabling technologies and ‘intelligent’ industrial robotics within a networked production system.
It is also the first of a series of wearable robotics under development and commercialisation by Comau, Iuvo and Ossur.