The manual handling work scenarios like manual patient transfer in the post-op and pre-op waiting rooms can be easily carried out with a suitable exoskeleton.
FREMONT, CA: Occupational ergonomics in healthcare is a rising challenge to handle shortly. Physical assistive systems, or exoskeletons, are promising solutions to avoid work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). Manual handling like pushing, holding, pulling, and lifting during healthcare tasks require practical and biomechanical effective assistive tools. A musculoskeletal-model-based development of an assistive exoskeleton is the best solution for this. Read on to know more.
Ergonomic interventions, such as optimization of work posture and conditions, obligatory muscle and movement training, regular work breaks, and load-specific work management, are possible ways to decrease the musculoskeletal system's burden a longer, healthier, and happier working life for the employees. Exoskeletons can apply assistive torques to help the wearer’s musculoskeletal apparatus through external mechanical structures strapped to the user body.
There is an increasing number of commercial and research initiatives addressing the development of occupational exoskeletons. Occupational exoskeletons can be passive or active. Passive exoskeletons use unpowered mechanisms like a spring to create the supporting forces, while active ones involve powered force/torque generating elements like motors. Among the manual handling work scenarios identified and investigated with hospital personal, manual patient transfer in the post-op and pre-op waiting rooms were found as the vital ones from the ergonomics perspective. In these scenarios, caretakers carry out horizontal pushing and pulling movements.
Using this exoskeleton, the proposed digital analysis's validity and accuracy can be investigated using several methods. One possibility is to compare real muscle activities with simulated ones during exoskeleton wearing by using surface electromyography. Another way would consist of measuring the interaction forces between the human body and exoskeleton mechanics with force sensors. Model accuracy could then be found by comparing the quantitative trend of the measurements with the model predictions.