After a successful trial in the US, Ford is now offering their exoskeleton to employees in 15 of its plants all across the globe.
The EksoVest is designed to support workers' arms while they perform repetitive overhead tasks.
"Building vehicles is physically a tough job," says Bruce Hettle, Ford group vice president, Manufacturing and Labor Affairs. "We care about our employees and are trying to help them do their jobs with the least amount of wear and tear on their bodies possible."
The EksoVest retains its specifications from the pilot model which has been in the field since last year, fitting workers from 152 to 193 cm tall. It is unpowered and uses spring assistance to provide 2.2 and 6.8 kg of lift support per arm.
The point of the exoskeleton is to reduce fatigue and injury to workers that undertake continuous repetitive tasks involving reaching up with power tools while working on the underside of cars. One of the pilot ExoVest operators, Nick Gotts, was immediately converted to the benefits of what the device has to offer, saying that "Any job that's overhead, I wouldn't work without it."
Ford's exoskeleton is just one innovation in a growing wave of possibilities that the future of technology might hold and to augment human abilities, either improving the power of individuals or reducing the strain on people undertaking excessive manual labour.
You can view the EksoVest in action in the video below.