ASTM International’s committee on exoskeletons and exosuits (F48) has approved a new standard that will help establish ergonomic parameters and test metrics.
“This new practice provides functional ergonomic criteria to consider for the design, production, and evaluation of exoskeletons within the domains of industry, military, medical, first responders, and recreational,” says ASTM International board member Christopher Reid. “When designing, natural unassisted human postures and movements, as well as the resulting strain and fatigue experienced by people, should be considered for the end-users inside of exoskeletons.”
The new standard (F3474) can be used during the iterative design process of exoskeleton creation as well as for comparisons between commercially off-the-shelf ready systems. Reid notes the standard will be useful to exoskeleton developers and manufacturers, evaluators, users, customers, and regulators.
“Ultimately, the defining principle of this practice is to establish standard objective measures that designers and evaluators of exoskeletons can select that will aid in equitable comparisons between exoskeleton development stages and/or comparisons between like systems,” says Reid.
He notes that the new standard directly relates to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals #10 on reduced inequalities and #16 on peace, justice, and strong institutions.
“This standard adds to a growing body of standards and knowledge that can ultimately aid in the better racial, gender, and cultural accommodations in design and accessibility of exoskeletons to untapped opportunities around the world,” says Reid.
For more information on ASTM International standards for exoskeletons and exosuits, please watch this video.
Reid says that all interested parties are encouraged to join ASTM’s exoskeleton committee in developing proposed standards. “We welcome experts in human factors, ergonomics, biomechanics, anthropometry, usability, and user experience,” says Reid. “Ideally, a diversity in the representation of their institutions is also needed, such as from academia, industry, government, consulting and exoskeleton manufacturers.”