© Fraunhofer IPA
Concept images for back (right) and shoulder (left) exoskeletons

As part of the research study "ExoLog", carried out on behalf of the Bundeswehr Research Institute for Materials Fuels and Lubricants ( WIWeB) with technical supervision from the Joint Support Service Command (KdoSKB) and the Logistics Command of the German Armed Forces (LogKdoBw), novel exoskeletons were developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology and Automation (IPA) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing, and Ergonomics (FKIE). Their implementation in the logistics of the German Armed Forces was also evaluated. The focus was on defined use cases in stationary logistics facilities (olE), mobile logistics units of the Joint Support Service Command (mobLogTr SKB), and a Specialized Engineer Regiment. Activities were identified in which exoskeletons could support the musculoskeletal system of the involved civilian personnel and soldiers.

The goal of this research study was to develop innovative exoskeletons for the upper and lower body, surpassing the functionalities of commercially available exoskeletons, and to establish a basis for effective and sustainable equipment decisions. This aimed to maintain and potentially improve the physical performance of the personnel deployed in the aforementioned areas, despite increasing demands. The systems were designed and further developed iteratively in several stages. This involved a versatile concept phase supported by biomechanical simulation, as well as several field investigations conducted in the aforementioned Bundeswehr facilities, with their results influencing the development of the current demonstrators.

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