The Japanese, you know, are known for their work ethic, and they have one of the oldest populations in the world. With increasing general aging, companies are looking for ways to help seniors stay longer in the workforce.
One way to do this is the introduction of exoskeletons that improve performance, or at least protect them from back pain. The latest trend is linked to the use of 'assistive' clothing: a softer version of an exoskeleton, a sort of suit with reinforcing elements that does not use mechanics or robotics. In this case, the suit we talk about today is inspired by the old 80s robots not only in terms of design but also of technology.
A robotic suit for 'old mecha' at work
First of all I would like to apologize. I lied to you. In the title I mentioned a suit called “Daya”: actually Daya is the name of the medical supply manufacturer who developed it. Otherwise, I would have had to put the official name in the title, which is "AT Field Darwing Hakobelude Light Eva Test Type Model". A little long, don't you think?
Well, now that I apologized I'll tell you the rest. The suit comes with a sort of harness that attaches to the shoulders and thighs, and is intended to keep your back and joints safe when lifting heavy loads.
For all fans of the Japanese series Neon Genesis Evangelion: yes, you have seen it right. The suit follows the same mecha robot design as the main character, Shinji ikari, gets in the animated series.
Will “robotising” be enough to withstand the changes?
To better understand what its customers were looking for, Daiya partnered with a range of experts in various industries, such as construction and nursing, agriculture, and the warehouse industry.
In the end, an "assisted suit" as Daiya calls it came out, which has no rigid structure. Instead, it is a light and softly padded garment that merely supports the user, in two modes: "assist-on" and "assist-off". The user selects the level of support they need and proceeds.
It is not yet known whether this type of technology will be sufficient to support the aging population. Some experts believe it is a step in the right direction, while others believe more needs to be done to make a real difference. Only time will tell if this type of technology will be able to make a significant contribution.
Meanwhile, to get an idea, find this support suit "Evangelion " on Daiya's website to the "modest sum" of around 610 euros. Robotising costs.