Objective and Subjective Effects of a Passive Exoskeleton on Overhead Work

Abstract : Overhead work is a frequent cause of shoulder work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Exoskeletons offering arm support have the potential to reduce shoulder strain, without requiring large scale reorganization of the workspace. Assessment of such systems however requires to take multiple factors into consideration. This paper presents a thorough in-lab assessment of PAEXO, a novel passive exoskeleton for arm support during overhead work. A list of evaluation criteria and associated performance metrics is proposed to cover both objective and subjective effects of the exoskeleton, on the user and on the task being performed. These metrics are measured during a lab study, where 12 participants perform an overhead pointing task with and without the exoskeleton, while their physical, physiological and psychological states are monitored. Results show that using PAEXO reduces shoulder physical strain as well as global physiological strain, without increasing low back strain nor degrading balance. These positive effects are achieved without degrading task performance. Importantly, participants' opinions of PAEXO are positive, in agreement with the objective measures. Thus, PAEXO seems a promising solution to help prevent shoulder injuries and diseases among overhead workers, without negatively impacting productivity.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02301922
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Submitted on : Thursday, October 3, 2019 - 11:09:44 AM
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Pauline Maurice, Jernej Camernik, Dasa Gorjan, Benjamin Schirrmeister, Jonas Bornmann, et al.. Objective and Subjective Effects of a Passive Exoskeleton on Overhead Work. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, In press, ⟨10.1109/TNSRE.2019.2945368⟩. ⟨hal-02301922v2⟩

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