Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Assessment of a Passive Lumbar Exoskeleton in Material Manual Handling Tasks Under Laboratory Conditions

Version 1 : Received: 4 April 2022 / Approved: 5 April 2022 / Online: 5 April 2022 (11:12:20 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Iranzo, S.; Piedrabuena, A.; García-Torres, F.; Martinez-de-Juan, J.L.; Prats-Boluda, G.; Sanchis, M.; Belda-Lois, J.-M. Assessment of a Passive Lumbar Exoskeleton in Material Manual Handling Tasks under Laboratory Conditions. Sensors 2022, 22, 4060. Iranzo, S.; Piedrabuena, A.; García-Torres, F.; Martinez-de-Juan, J.L.; Prats-Boluda, G.; Sanchis, M.; Belda-Lois, J.-M. Assessment of a Passive Lumbar Exoskeleton in Material Manual Handling Tasks under Laboratory Conditions. Sensors 2022, 22, 4060.

Journal reference: Sensors 2022, 22, 4060
DOI: 10.3390/s22114060

Abstract

Manual material handling tasks in industry cause work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Exoskeletons are being introduced to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. This study investigated the effect of using a passive lumbar exoskeleton in terms of moderate ergonomic risk. Eight participants were monitored by electromyogram (EMG) and motion capture (MoCap) while performing tasks with and without the lumbar exoskeleton. The results showed a significant reduction in the root mean square (VRMS) for all muscles tracked: erector spinae (8%), semitendinosus (14%), gluteus (5%), and quadriceps (10.2%). The classic fatigue parameters showed a significant reduction in the case of the semitendinosus: 1.7% zero-crossing rate, 0.9% mean frequency, and 1.12% median frequency. In addition, the logarithm of the normalized Dimitrov’s index showed reductions of 11.5, 8, and 14% in erector spinae, semitendinosus, and gluteus, respectively. The calculation of range of motion in the relevant joints demonstrated significant differences, but in almost all cases, the differences were smaller than 10. The findings of the study indicate that the passive exoskeleton reduces muscle activity and introduces a minor change of strategies for motion. Thus, EMG and MoCap appear to be appropriate measurements for designing an exoskeleton assessment procedure.

Keywords

exoskeleton; lumbar; EMG; motion-tracking; fatigue; manual material handling

Subject

LIFE SCIENCES, Biotechnology

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