To boost its workers’ productivity, BMW have started to test a metallic supportive suit on its employees, borrowed from Iron Man.

Some BMW workers at the Spartanburg, South Carolina, plant have started to experiment an “ekso vest”, a backpack-style wearable exoskeletal developed by Ekso Bionics in Richmond, California. The suit was specifically designed to ease up the muscular strain on the upper body and arms, so the employees could be more efficient when working overhead. Even if it uses no power whatsoever, the vest is supposed to make heavy objects feel like feathers, thus reducing weariness. Assembly planner Frank Pochiro was the man behind the idea, when he first saw the exoskeletons on a TED Talk and proposed it afterwards to the management.

“We’ve run trials on 30 employees and they really love it,” he said, adding that he is evaluating prototypes from two US companies. “Safety is improved, there is less fatigue, and job satisfaction goes up. So we see lots of potential.” Pochiro said the suit may by implemented in BMW’s plants all over the world and the technology will surely by improved over the years when battery-powered exoskeletons are developed.

BMW is not the only company that has been testing these type of supportive devices for its workers. Audi has also started to use so-called “chairless chairs,” a carbon-fiber construction that improves the posture and reduces the strain on legs.

Via Automotive News


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