News & Press Releases

Singapore Army trials Mawashi's titanium Exoskeleton designed to reduce load on soldiers

2020-07 | The Singapore Army is trialling Mawashi's UPRISE® Passive Load-Bearing Exoskeleton designed to reduce the stress on soldiers carrying heavy loads.

In the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day 2020 video released on July 1st, a clip captioned 'Exoskeleton Trial' shows a soldier walking on a treadmill in what appears to be a stress test. He is wearing full combat gear on top of the titanium exoskeleton, including helmet, rifle, field pack and load-bearing vest.

The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) confirmed that the army is studying the use of an exoskeleton to improve soldier performance: "The Singapore Army is constantly looking for ways to enhance the performance of our soldiers, and the exoskeleton is one such example that the Centre of Excellence for Soldier Performance (CESP) is studying." The CESP, set up in 2017, helps to develop the full potential of soldiers in areas like fitness and nutrition, pre-habilitation and rehabilitation, resilience and soldier systems.

The UPRISE® is expected to be distributed in the Singapore Army to specialized units that do heavy lifting over long distances, notably anti-tank infantry and special forces operators.

CLICK HERE to read the full article on the website of Channel News Asia

CLICK HERE to view the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day 2020 video and 'Exoskeleton Trial' clip



Mawashi's Exoskeleton Featured on the Cover Page of the Masonry Magazine in the U.S.

2020-06 | "Exoskeletons for Bricklayers: Science Fiction is Now Reality"

Article published in the June 2020 edition of the Masonry Magazine, a monthly publication providing over 27,000 members and subscribers with timely, informative articles. It has been considered the leader in the space since 1961.

When we think of exoskeletons, the image of Iron Man might be the first thing that comes to mind…of course, who wouldn’t want to try out a suit like that! But the exoskeleton for the masonry industry, which we will be sharing with you today, didn’t come out of a movie script. It came from the collaboration between an innovative company, Mawashi Science & Technology, and a visionary entrepreneur and bricklayer, Mr. Armand Rainville, who wanted to better the lives of the men & women working in that trade.

Armand Rainville knows everything about bricklaying. He has done it, he has run teams who did it, he bought a company that manufactures tools to help people do it, and now, 28 years later, Fraco Products is a leader in the mast climbers and hoist industry. His daughters, Emmanuelle & Julie, are now the co-presidents of Fraco, but Armand is still there, supporting them and staying one step ahead of competition, with innovation on his mind.

One day Armand had an idea, “What about a suit that could help bricklayers stay healthy, avoid injury, help more women join the trade and keep the aging workforce laying bricks longer?” He knew exactly where to go to transform into reality, his vision of a suit, made specifically for the masonry industry. He got in his car and drove about 20 miles, to Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, to meet with the team at Mawashi who had already developed a suitable solution for his vision: A passive load-bearing exoskeleton (...)

CLICK HERE to read the full article on the website of the Masonry Magazine



Mawashi recruITED TO participATE IN A prestigiOUS program

2020-06 | Mawashi Science & Technology is one of 11 companies selected by the Government of Canada to participate in the Canadian Technology Accelerator – Boston / Cambridge (CTA-Boston). The company from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, aspires to find investors who will accelerate the commercialization of its exoskeleton, whose technology has been developed for use in other fields than the military.

Article published on June 4th, 2020 in Le Canada Français, a daily newspaper distributed in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec (the second oldest French-language newspaper in North America).

The CTA-Boston is a program which takes place from May to November and which connects Canadian companies working in the technology and life sciences sector with American investors, strategic partners and customers.

"This is an important program and it takes place in Boston because it is a very important hub in terms of investments in high technology", explains Alain Bujold, the Chief Executive Officer of Mawashi Science & Technology.

The program is located in the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), home to 2,000 technology and life science companies, said Jean-Marc Sheitoyan, Chief Strategy Officer at Mawashi. Note also the presence of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There are also 90 venture capital and angel investors with a budget of $ 50 billion. Finally, a mentoring program is dedicated to participating companies.

CLICK HERE to read the full article (in French) on the website of the magazine Le Canada Français



Fraco exoskeleton by mawashi introduced at world of concrete 2020 in las vegas

2020-02 | The company Fraco Products Ltd. introduced the 'Fraco Exoskeleton by Mawashi' at the World of Concrete (WOC) 2020 in Las Vegas, NV, USA, the commercial construction industry’s largest annual international event for concrete and masonry professional.

Fraco used World of Concrete to show its exoskeleton prototype, a wearable technology geared toward reducing worker fatigue and injuries associated with handling concrete blocks. The company also said the unit could counter the lack of labor present in the construction industry.

Developed in collaboration with Mawashi Science & Technology, the Fraco Exoskeleton is a device attached to several sections of the human body to restore mobility and reduce effort. It is the result of an adaptation of the UPRISE® exoskeleton developed by Mawashi for the military sector and it is the first civilian application of the model.

The unit consists of an actuation system for the upper limbs to support and assist masons’ arms, a quasi-passive joint locking mechanism and a passive lifting assistance mechanism. It is free-flowing and does not restrict any range of motion. The unit can reduce the weight of concrete blocks by 21 pounds.

For Armand Rainville, founder of Fraco, the device is a revolution for the masonry industry. “During my career as a mason, I have known so many workers who have had to leave the profession around the age of 40 because they have jeopardized their health by maneuvering concrete blocks. We developed the Fraco Exoskeleton with all these workers in mind.”

The exoskeleton will undergo its final testing later this fall and will be ready to ship by May 2021. Units will cost between $6,600 to $7,000 USD.

CLICK HERE to read the full article on the website of the KHL Group



Wearable technologies: Exoskeletons, a marvel of engineering on construction sites

2019-12 | Construction workers handle heavy materials and tools. The work also requires repetitive tasks, a situation that wears out the body and causes fatigue, which affects work productivity and alertness on construction sites. Exoskeletons are technologies that increase the capacity of the human body. This is why exoskeleton manufacturers are reaching out to construction associations.

Article published in the winter 2019 edition of the CONSTRUIRE magazine, the official publication of Association de la construction du Québec (ACQ) for over 30 years. With 4 editions per year, it includes a variety of articles on different aspects of construction in Quebec.

An exoskeleton is a light, resistant and durable structure which is worn on the body. It allows the load and pressure exerted on the human body to be redirected when an object is transported. It brings precision and power to the limbs and joints. Exoskeletons include passive elements, like springs, or active components, like motors. Unpowered systems are the most popular. The system enables, increases or enhances movement or physical activity.

"Exoskeletons' proven successes in motor skills training have since inspired the workplace accident prevention market", says Simon Pesant, scientific researcher and project coordinator at Mawashi. "The appropriate equipment allows workers to perform repetitive movements quickly, intensely and efficiently without human fatigue or injury and to adopt healthy working postures."

“Exoskeletons help saving lives, especially in environments where the dangerousness index is high. Their ergonomics help the body to transport heavy equipment and fuel ease of movement”, observes Jean-Marc Sheitoyan, chief strategy officer at Mawashi.

These state-of-the-art devices will allow construction professionals to work more years, including preventing premature deterioration of the wrists, elbows and shoulders, and helping the body better manage movement and absorb the weight of the tools. They particularly help to reduce the pressure that the work effort exerts on the muscles and ligaments.

Exoskeletons do not replace the skills of the workers. They help to do the job better by ensuring the movement, strength and endurance of workers. Even more important, they prevent accidents. This equipment is part of the large family of Human Augmentation Systems (HAS), which includes augmented reality products, such as protective glasses that increase vision and connected helmets.

The evolution of these products is exponential and the demand is growing. Indeed, they improve the competitiveness of work. They add to the quality of life of workers and contribute to the advancement of construction sites. However, construction companies have special needs: they are looking for body-molded and low profile products that are not bulky. Which is what the industry is currently developing.

CLICK HERE to read the full article (in French) on the website of the CONSTRUIRE magazine



With Exoskeletons, will humans become bionic?

2019-05 | Exoskeletons, futuristic structural frames, begin to conquer industry and medicine. Will they live up to their promises?

Article published on May 16th, 2019 in the Québec Science magazine, the privileged link between the research community and the general public which tackles all questions relating to science and technology and takes a scientific look at the major current issues.

In the laboratory of the Mawashi company in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Alex, an athletic former soldier dressed in camouflage, runs on a treadmill under the watchful eye of a kinesiologist. Several sensors placed on his knees, torso and legs are connected to a monitor. Over the former soldier’s clothing, a prototype of the UPRISE® exoskeleton helps distribute the weight of the backpack he is wearing while sparing his spine.

The exoskeleton designed by Mawashi is made of titanium rods which descend along the legs of the former soldier and are attached to a sliding belt. This belt is attached, in the back, to an articulated structure resembling a spine on which the backpack can be hung. The suit fluidly follows the soldier's movements.

Exoskeletons, whose name refers to insect shells and which can be motorized or not (like the UPRISE®), have the capacity to relieve the constraining postures and pain associated with repetitive movements in all sectors of activity, from handling to line work. In addition to reducing musculoskeletal disorders, they promise to improve human performance and productivity by speeding up or increasing the strength of workers. For example, Ford, Boeing and Toyota recently adopted, in certain factories, these "bionic workers" (...)

CLICK HERE to read the full article (in French) on the website of the Québec Science magazine



Live Interview on the TV Show Salut Bonjour (TVA Network)

2018-11 | The dream of an exoskeleton which could help soldiers carry heavy loads without getting injured is approaching, and it is a Canadian company from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Mawashi Science & Technology, which is in pole position of a market evaluated at "billions and billions of dollars".

Live interview on November 14th, 2018 on Salut Bonjour, a Quebec daily morning TV show broadcasted on the TVA network since 1990.

"A third of soldiers evacuated from Afghanistan and Irak had not suffered combat injuries. Rather, they had suffered damage, particularly to the back, due to the excessive weight placed on their shoulders. It costs the U.S. military $500M a year to care for soldiers injured because they were carrying too much weight", said Alain Bujold, chief executive officer and chief technology officer at Mawashi. With years of specialization in research and engineering for “everything that goes on the human body”, Mawashi took a closer look at exoskeletons in 2013.

CLICK HERE to view the full interview video (in French) on the website of the TV show Salut Bonjour



article in the headlines of the newspaper LA PRESSE

2018-10 | Military Equipment: An Innovation from Quebec takes on a Huge Market

The UPRISE® Exoskeleton developed by Mawashi can remove up to 70% of the weight carried by a soldier from his own skeleton. The structure conforms to the body, but is not motorized, which is a significant advantage, according to Mr. Bujold, since soldiers can be assigned to very long missions without fear of running out of batteries, and without having to carry these batteries.

"More and more, the fighting is taking place in urban areas, which means that vehicles cannot be used to transport equipment," he adds. And there is more and more equipment for communications."

"The goal is not to carry more weight," he warns. It’s about reducing injuries and helping to carry that weight."

Last March, Mawashi was invited by NATO to demonstrate the benefits that the UPRISE® could bring to Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) specialists, who must put on a protective suit that alone weighs a hundred pounds.

CLICK HERE to read the full article (in French) on the website of the newspaper La Presse



exoskeletons: soon reality

2018-01 | Technological advances in the field of construction come from everywhere. In addition to artificial intelligence and robots, exoskeletons could disrupt the way of doing things in the construction industry.

Article published on January 30th, 2018 in the Constructo magazine, the preferred reference for construction stakeholders in Quebec for over 50 years.

The potential of exoskeletons is great, especially in the medical field where devices are being built for people who have lost the use of one or more limbs. By combining robotics, computer science and neurosurgery, we can now connect the brains of patients to exoskeletons; allowing them to feel their legs again, with the ability to contract muscles and control their movements.

While progress may become significant in the coming years, exoskeletons offer concrete solutions for the construction industry at the moment. Most of them are mechanical systems, without motor or computer hardware, designed to ease the task of workers. It should be understood that the problems associated with musculoskeletal disorders can represent significant losses for businesses. This is why the exoskeletons currently in operation are designed to meet the needs related to ergonomics or health and safety (...)

CLICK HERE to read the full article on the website of the Constructo magazine



Australia's Diggerworks studies Mawashi's Passive Load-Bearing Exoskeleton

2017-08 | The Australian Defence Force (ADF) Diggerworks division is undertaking a feasibility study to determine the potential utility of a passive exoskeleton for ADF dismounted close combatants. The intended purpose of the systems is to transfer the weight burden of the soldiers’ carried equipment directly to the ground, helping the dismounted soldier arrive at their destination less fatigued and ready for battle.

As part of the exoskeleton trial, participants were fitted with a surrogate suit made of 3D printed plastic. The surrogate suit was fitted to ensure measurements were correct prior to manufacturing titanium suits.

CLICK HERE to read the full article on the website of Soldier Systems Daily