NSC Labor Division news Ergonomics Research/studies Injury prevention Musculoskeletal disorders

New video shows ways cobots could help prevent MSDs

Photo: Italian Institute of Technology

Genoa, Italy — A new video from the Italian Institute of Technology showcases potential uses of collaborative robots, or cobots, to help prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

The video shows cobots helping with lifting, placing items into a box and spray painting, among other tasks. It also features intelligent wearable systems that ensure proper posture and assist with overhead work.

The technologies originated from the SOPHIA (Socio-physical Interaction Skills for Cooperative Human-Robot Systems in Agile Production) project, which is aimed at creating “a new generation of core robotic technologies for socially cooperative human-robot systems.” The project, launched in 2020, includes 12 partners from six European countries.

“The SOPHIA project impacted standardization efforts by creating a CEN (European Committee for Standardization) Workshop Agreement, a guideline for implementing real-time biomechanical risk assessment tools,” a press release states. “This guideline establishes best practices for data collection and monitoring directly in real-world work environments; for real-time evaluation of biomechanical risks during simple tasks like lifting, pushing/pulling, overhead work, and repetitive upper limb movements.”

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