First WearRAcon Europe at Fraunhofer IPA
November 19 and 20 marked the first annual WearRAcon Europe Conference! The presence of 16 exhibitors and more than 30 very informative lectures on industrial, medical and military exoskeletons helped make WearRAcon Europe in Stuttgart an exciting event, which attracted around 120 visitors. Fraunhofer IPA and the University of Stuttgart’s Institute of Industrial Manufacturing and Management IFF organized this European version of WearRAcon, in close collaboration with the global exoskeleton interest group, the Wearable Robotics Association (WearRA) in Phoenix, Arizona (USA). Dr. Joe Hitt, Managing Director of WearRA and Dr. Urs Schneider, head of the Dpt. Biomechatronic Systems at Fraunhofer IPA and Conference Chair, opened the event. Dr. Jan Veneman, coordinator of the COST Action Wearable Robots (wearablerobots.eu), greatly supported the organization of the conference.
On the second day, end users, researchers and exoskeleton manufacturers enjoyed the hands-on testing possibilities in various production and logistic scenarios including overhead work as well as lifting and handling tasks. The room was full of end-users and exhibitors testing devices and networking.
Renowned exoskeleton expert, Dr. Thomas Sugar, Arizona State University, Co-Founder of WearRA and WearRAcon in Phoenix gave a great keynote overview on research in exoskeleton technology. Prof. Robert Riener, ETH Zurich showed new approaches in medical exoskeleton research and announced Cybathlon 2020 in Zurich.
2020 will bring WearRAcon to Phoenix for the 5th annual event, March 30 to April 1. Focus areas will include an Automotive Forum, a Logistics Forum and an Insurance Forum, along with sessions on medical and rehabilitation. Keynote speakers will be among others: Mr. Norm Bafunno, Senior VP at Toyota Motor North America, Dr. Rich Mahoney, CEO and Founder of Seismic Inc. and Dr. Michael Goldfarb, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Vanderbilt University. The event will also include an ASTM F48 Standards meeting following the conference on Wednesday and Thursday.
After the success of this year’s event, we are excited to announce that WearRAcon Europe, chaired by Fraunhofer IPA and IFF at the University of Stuttgart will return in 2020 to Stuttgart – September 29 and 30. The event will extend the features of lively and concrete hands-on testing of industrial exoskeletons, along with a series of lectures.