Home improvement store Lowe’s isn’t biding its time waiting for the rumored fourth installment in the “Iron Man” franchise to hit theaters someday.
It’s equipping employees with a powerful exoskeleton right now to assist them when they’re bending, lifting and squatting with heavy merchandise.
Eat your heart out, Tony Stark!
Lowe’s exoskeleton developed in partnership with Virginia Tech
Described as a combination of “a rock climbing harness and a backpack,” four of these exoskeletons are currently being tested at a store in Christiansburg, VA.
“It feels very natural,” Kyle Nel, the director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, told The Verge about wearing the device.
“When the person is walking and bends down to pick something up, the rods collect potential energy. And when they stand back up it puts that energy back into their legs and back. It’s very smooth, and it feels like this heavy thing [they’re lifting] is much less heavy.”
Employee feedback has so far been positive about the exoskeleton. Lowe’s will use the results of this trial to consider expanding the device to other stores.
This exoskeleton is just the latest in a string of technological advances that promise to reshape the workplace.
Robots, artificial intelligence and machine automation all look set to play a major role in a quickly changing employment environment.
That, of course, gives rise to fears that robots will one day take away human jobs entirely.
If you’re having those fears, you need to take a step back and look at the situation objectively. Fortunately a new website named WillRobotsTakeMyJob.com will predict the probability of automation for hundreds of jobs!
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