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x-Ar exoskeleton takes the weight off your arm


March 10, 2011

The x-Ar exoskeletal arm support makes life easier for people whose work requires them to keep one arm extended (Image: Equipois)

The x-Ar exoskeletal arm support makes life easier for people whose work requires them to keep one arm extended (Image: Equipois)

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If you've seen Avatar or Aliens, then you've seen futuristic versions of exoskeletons – mechanical systems that human users wear over their bodies, to augment their own physical abilities. While exoskeletons are already available and in use today, they're sometimes a bit more machine than what is needed. After all, why put on an expensive full- or half-body contraption, when you're performing a task that mostly just requires the use of one arm? That's where the x-Ar exoskeletal arm support comes in. Users wear it on their dominant arm, and it moves with them, providing support as they do things such as holding tools out in front of themselves.

The x-Ar is the latest product from Equipois, which has already been selling a little something called the zeroG. Also reminiscent of Aliens technology, it's a Steadicam-inspired device that can either be worn via a back brace-like arrangement, or mounted on a work stand, wall track, or other apparatus beside the worker. Just like a Steadicam allows a movie camera to seemingly float weightlessly beside its operator, using nothing but hinges, springs and counterweights, the zeroG (pictured below) does the same thing for whatever tool is mounted on it.

Unlike the zeroG, which doesn't connect with the user's arms at all, the x-Ar attaches to the wrist of their dominant arm via a cuff – they still hold whatever tool they're using in their hand, and it will fall to the floor if they let go of it. Even for people whose jobs don't involve heavy tools, the x-Ar could still be of great assistance to people who are simply required to extend their arm for extended periods.

Equipois CEO Eric Golden has been quoted as saying that besides reducing workplace injuries, the device could also find use in assisting paralyzed people in moving their arms, and that it could eventually even be used with a brain-machine interface.

The x-Ar is expected to go on sale in April, for between US$2,000 and $3,000.

For a lower-tech gizmo that offers some of the same features, also check out the Portable Support Tool Balancer.

Via Fast Company

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Now I can open that carton of milk.

Dave McLure

This is not an exoskeleton, nor is it robotic. I\'ve researched this company and it seems all they do is borrow from the steadicam line of products and market them as their own. they\'ve only been around a few years and their products seem mediocre at best, with a huge price tag. i can imagine the genius who though of stealing a steadicam, strapping it on a person\'s arms, and calling it the world\'s first arm support (which it is not, GE built an entire working exoskelton as far back as 1967, and Raytheon, among a number of current aerospace companies, currently has full-body functioning exoskeleton). You can put all the lipstick you want on a pig, but it\'s still a pig. you can market this piece of junk as a \"robotic exoskeleton\" but it\'s still a steadicam strapped to a person\'s arm.


This will definitely help all the \"single\" guys out there take the strain off their wrists lol

Billy Luvs Muffins

When will people realize that being fit and healthy includes \"exercise\". Companies should not be allowed to make products that turn us into fat, lazy, Americans. This is why the rest of the world hates us. the Japanese are trying to keep themselves alive right now, while we\'re spending our money on products that lift our own arms for us? it\'s a sad state the world is in right now. amateur companies like this one pushing these fake \"ergonomics\" products on us doesn\'t make it any better.

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