Ottobock unveils new-and-improved Shoulder upper-body exoskeleton
Three years ago, we heard about an assistive upper-body exoskeleton called the Paexo Shoulder. Its German manufacturer, Ottobock, has announced an updated model, now going by the name of the Ottobock Shoulder.
Like the original version, the new-and-improved exoskeleton is worn like a backpack.
There's a padded waist belt and padded shoulder straps, the latter of which are joined together in the front by a chest strap. Additionally, padded cuffs go around each arm's bicep. Struts run from those cuffs to an energy-storage mechanism on the back, via a linkage. No battery or other electrical power source is required.
"The Ottobock Shoulder harvests the wearer's upper limbs' potential energy and stores it in a spring and cable system," said the company's chief scientist, Dr. Homayoon Kazerooni. "This potential energy is absorbed, with minimal amount of exertion on the wearer, when the arms are lowered. The device continuously releases this stored energy to reduce the wearer’s effort for raising the upper limbs."
Among the improvements over the previous model is a simplified adjustment system, reportedly making it possible to put the exoskeleton on in less than 20 seconds. The newly-designed waist belt is also claimed to be more comfortable.
Optional extras include a padded neck support for relieving pressure on the cervical spine; a jacket for protecting users while they're welding; plus a "Soft Back" for supporting the lower spine and stabilizing the torso.
The Ottobock Shoulder was launched this Thursday (Apr. 21st), and is available now via the company website. Pricing starts at US$4,990.