Air Force exoskeleton gets heavy lift from ASU
Aerial porters — Air Force personnel who load pallets and lift cargo onto aircraft — are getting help doing their jobs more safely and with less exertion, thanks to new lightweight exoskeleton technology developed by ASU engineers. A recent study reveals that more the $30 million is spent each year in disability benefits for retired aerial porters, who had a high incidence of musculoskeletal injuries. The Aerial Porter Exoskeleton project has been led by Fulton Schools Professor Tom Sugar, whose expertise in mechanical, manufacturing and systems engineering guided his work to design more effective flexible wearable robots to prevent those injuries. The exoskeleton enables teams of porters to lift and move as much as 10,000 pounds of materials and load them onto planes, while allowing users to easily disengage the technology when walking, running, sitting or crawling so that it won’t be a hindrance to free movement when it’s not needed.