Exoskeleton suit in real life is not even remotely close to fantasy tech of Iron Man, but rather, it is something like the Vest EXoskeleton (VEX), a wearable robot of sort developed by Hyundai Motor Group. That’s right. In addition to developing groundbreaking automobile tech like solar car roof, smartphone entry and more, the South Korean auto manufacturing group comprising of Hyundai and Kia also wants to give its employees a boost in strength. OK. Maybe not strength, but reduce fatigue.
VEX is designed assist industrial workers, relieving them of fatigue when working overhead, such as bolting the underside of vehicles, and thereby enhancing their productivity. You know how it goes with exoskeleton suit. They sort of imitates human joints’ movement, providing support. In the case of VEX, it is a wearable vest featuring poly centric axis that combines multiple pivot points with multi-link muscular assistance to function, thus negating the need for a battery. Like, who needs an Arc Reactor, right?
“At 2.5kg (5.5 lbs), VEX weighs 22-42% less than competing products and is worn like a backpack. The user places their arms through the shoulder straps of the vest, then fastens the chest and waist buckles. The back section can adjust in length by up to 18 cm to fit a variety of body sizes, while the degree of force assistance can be adjusted over six levels – up to as much as 5.5 kgf.”
VEX has been trialed in two Hyundai Motor Group plants in stateside and the results, said Hyundai, were successful in boosting productivity. Now, the automaker is considering introducing VEX at plants around the world. The exoskeleton suit will go into production this December by Hyundai Rotem. It is expected to cost as much as 30 percent less than existing products which are around 5,000 dollars a piece.
In a related news, Hyundai Motor Group has also developed another lightweight wearable device, called Chairless EXoskeleton or CEX, which will also soon see commercialization. Chairless EXoskeleton, as the name implies, allows its wearer to adopt a sitting position without an actual stool or chair. It weighs just 1.6 kilograms (3.5 lbs) and capable of sustaining weighs of up to 150 kilograms (331 lbs).
All images courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group.