Building industry technological trends of 2018: exoscheletons

Building industry technological trends of 2018: exoscheletons

Exoskeletons, now used in construction sites to assist workers in performing repetitive, dangerous and mundane jobs increasing health and safety conditions

Just like drones (see previous article), exoskeletons are now being introduced in various construction sites.

A builder can now wear a robotic suit to improve his strength and endurance especially when carrying our mundane tasks that very often turn out to be a safety risk due to the lack of concentration.

Among its features, it can allow the worker to lift heavy objects without getting tired with obvious benefits in reducing back pain and other muscular problems.

Exoskeletons: what are they?

An exoskeleton can be defined as a mobile structure that covers the body partially or totally and is weared externally to a user enhancing his motility capabilities.
They are electrically powered and defined as “active” if motorized, or “passive” when used as a simple support to the legs or arms when needing to maintain uncomfortable positions for long periods of time.

In the construction industry, exoskeletons can increase human mobility to improve lifting force or reduce stress, improving results for repetitive tasks such as squats, bends or walking.


Exoskeletons in construction sites

It may not be clear right away, but robotic technology is already making its way into the construction site.
For now, routine applications are minimal and highly specialized, such as scanning and Grade Control. But all of this is about to change.

The rise of technologies such as artificial intelligence and mobile digital fabrication, to name a few, is the basis for the development of the next generation of robotic assistance in the sector.

Whether robots will simply increase, fundamentally change or totally replace current jobs is still an open question but the past generations of robot technologies united all three of these elements, depending on their relationship with the different construction tasks.

According to scholars, “The opportunity for the growth of construction robots in the construction industry is gigantic”: the forecast is that the robotic exoskeletons market will reach $1.8 billion value in 2025, compared to the $68 million reached in 2014 (source: ABI Research).


The building sites of the future…

While the Exoskeletons are intended to expand their application in various construction industry fields, many companies are starting to produce specific versions for medical applications too: their production concerns separate exoskeleton systems for legs, back and shoulders and also a complete version of the robotic suit.

Thanks to exoskeletons it will be possible to face the challenges present in the sector with more resources, such as safety, productivity, planning and project execution.

Although robots used in experimental masonry construction tasks, they still remain as future generation of technologies.
They will be implemented more and more after they have shown their usefulness in the sector, being still in a phase of development and evolution.


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