Ford has brought to market some cool technologies in the past, but its latest toy is especially wild. There’s been a lot of talk about an exoskeleton for soldiers or warehouse workers to enhance their physical abilities, but Ford has started using one for employees on its assembly lines.
The Blue Oval caused a big stir with a press release about the EksoVest, an exoskeleton created by Ekso Bionics. It’s being used for employees who do repetitive tasks overhead. It only fits over the upper body, elevating and supporting the arms as a way to cut down on fatigue and injuries. Having spent many hours under vehicles for projects, I can tell you having something like this would be amazing.
First, Ford tried out the new tech at two U.S. assembly plants. The trials were a success, so the EksoVest will now be used at 15 plants scattered around the globe. For now the device will only help with lifting between five and 15 pounds per arm, so this won’t let you carry an engine or something crazy like that. The person needs to be between 5 feet 2 inches and 6 feet 4 inches.
Ekso Bionics says it focuses on two market segments. One is exoskeletons for stroke and spinal cord trauma victims. The other is workers in manufacturing, construction, and industrial sectors. This is the kind of stuff that not too long ago was science fiction.