MATE is made to look out for your shoulders
Performing repetitive and/or strenuous tasks can be hard on a worker's body, leading to muscle fatigue and even injury. Assistive exoskeletons are designed to help keep that from happening, with the MATE from Italian company Comau being an interesting recent example.
An acronym for Muscular Aiding Tech Exoskeleton, MATE was designed in collaboration with Icelandic orthopedic company ÖSSUR and Italy's IUVO, which is a spinoff company of the Italian BioRobotics Institute.
Worn on the upper body, it utilizes coil springs within its two "torque generators" to provide assistance to the wearer's shoulder muscles as they lift heavy objects, reach above their heads, or perform other physically-taxing activities. MATE additionally keeps its user from rotating their shoulder joints beyond the safe range of motion.
The exoskeleton can be set to one of five positions depending on the task at hand, plus users can choose between seven assistance levels. It weighs 3 kg (6.6 lb), and is being made in two sizes.
According to Comau, MATE should be available as of December. There's no word on pricing, but you can see the device in use, in the video below.