Bioservo develops soft glove to strengthen grip

Bioservo develops soft glove to strengthen grip

The Ironhand glove is designed to strengthen the wearer's grip, so they don't have to use as much force to perform repetitive manual tasks. The developer of Bioservo says it can increase the wearer's hand strength by 20%.

The Swedish company describes the system as a soft exoskeleton. Exoskeletons are an external device that supports and protects the body, typically increasing strength and endurance. The ironhand is soft, like a regular glove, like a rigid structure.

Mikael Wester, Bioservo's marketing director, says that when you have the glove on, it provides strength and reduces the effort needed when lifting objects. It's all in order to reduce fatigue and prevent strain injuries in the long run. The backpack, which holds the power pack, and artificial tendons that connect to the glove, is part of the system. There are sensors on each fingertip that switch on the motor when a user grabs an object. A remote control or app can be used to adjust the strength and sensitivity of the grip. Wester says that applications include assembly on the production line in the automotive industry, using tools in construction and lifting heavy objects in warehouses. The Ironhand system costs around €6,000 $7,275, which is a way for the company to assess the wearer's risk of developing strain injuries. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work said that work related neck and upper limb disorders are the most common occupational disease in Europe, costing national economies up to 2% of their gross national product. The glove was originally designed for workers in a very different setting than on the factory floor. NASA developed a early version of the technology called Robo-Glove to help astronauts grasp objects and carry out work in space. The Ironhand system is used for assembling parts in the automobile industry. Bioservo licensed the design in 2016 and then partnered with auto manufacturer General Motors GM to develop the glove for its workers. Why is it that online supermarket Ocado wants to take the human touch out of groceries. Ergonomics is a field of adapting the workers rather than having to conform to the job, says Stephen Krajcarski, senior manager with GM's ergonomics team. By using tools such as the Ironhand, we are trying to mitigate any potential concerns or physical demands that may cause a medical concern for the individual operator. Krajcarski said GM helped Bioservo to test and improve the Ironhand by piloting it in a variety of jobs at its manufacturing plants. He says it's not suitable for all situations and that some workers have found it easy to use. The Ironhand is one of the exoskeletons that GM is looking into. According to market research firm ABI Research, the exoskeleton market will grow from $392 million in 2020 to $6.8 billion in 2030 If you look at the exoskeletons, this is just one of the tools that are out there, says Krajcarski.