PITTSBURGH, PA -- RE2 Robotics, a leading developer of mobile robotic manipulator arms, announced today that the company has been awarded a $1 Million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program with the U.S. Army to develop the Biomechanical Exoskeleton Simulator System, a software tool to assess the impact of load carriage and body-wearable robotic devices on musculoskeletal health and performance. The simulator will allow the Army to more accurately predict musculoskeletal stress on military personnel while wearing assistive devices, such as robotic exoskeletons.
According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, injuries among warfighters have increased significantly over the past few decades, with a majority of musculoskeletal injuries attributed to overuse and excessive load carriage. Specifically, back and lower extremity injuries due to overburdening account for 65% of the reported musculoskeletal injuries to military personnel from boot camp to discharge.
The goal of the Phase II effort is to develop a simulation tool capable of producing validated biomechanical data on muscle forces, stresses, joint loads, and metabolic load that a human subject would have produced during load carriage with and without the use of a robotic exoskeleton. This data will help the Army analyze the benefits of exoskeletons and develop injury predictions.
“By directly modeling the interaction between a human user and the exoskeleton, our simulator will help to identify potential injury mechanisms and issues before any large-scale deployment of the device – ultimately reducing injuries while saving the Army time and money,” stated Jorgen Pedersen, president and CEO for RE2.
RE2 is partnering with biomechanical exoskeleton experts at Ekso Bionics™ (OTCBB: EKSO), neuromusculoskeletal simulation leader, Dr. Scott Delp and Dr. Jennifer Hicks, faculty at Stanford University, and the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh to design and test the Biomechanical Exoskeleton Simulator System.
This work is supported by the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command under Contract No. W81XWH-14-C-0002. The views, opinions and/or findings contained in this report are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy or decision unless so designated by other documentation.
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