Uprise® Passive Load-Bearing Exoskeleton

 

Investigating the change in energy expenditure before and after familiarization with a passive load-bearing exoskeleton: A case series

Presentation of the Scientific Poster unveiled at the 5th International Congress on Soldiers' Physical Performance (ICSPP2020) by Mr. Gabriel Diamond-Ouellette, M.Sc., Biomechanical Kinesiologist and Ph.D. Student at Université Laval.

This poster presents results from the second phase of a 3-year collaborative research agreement between Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en réadaptation et en intégration sociale (CIRRIS) (Laval University), and Mawashi Science & Technology.

This study supports the importance of familiarization periods upon provision of a load-bearing exoskeleton to minimize the energetic cost (EC) of locomotion (cost of transport) with both for expert and naïve users. Integrating a familiarization period can optimize use of a new device and permit the user to enhance efficient coordination patterns during walking. Given the variability among walking speeds with and without the exoskeleton, evaluations should consider individual users and the exoskeleton as one system.

This study concludes that with adequate familiarization, exoskeletons can reduce the energetic cost of locomotion during walking with loads between 26lb and 84lb (12-38Kg).

CLICK HERE to view the Scientific Poster in PDF format

 


NATO Integration of the Exoskeleton in the Battlefield (IEB) Project

Successful user trials of Mawashi's UPRISE® Passive Load-Bearing Exoskeleton under the bomb suit worn by Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians for EOD/IEDD/C-IED applications.

The overall aim of the NATO IEB project was to inform the 30 NATO member countries about the state of the art of Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation (EHPA) technologies. Specific objectives included: Organizing demonstrations, improving technology awareness to demystify the exoskeleton technology, identify potential interoperability and standardization lines of development, creating an open dialog in the NATO military and industrial community, and developing a Concept of Operations (CONOPS) of exoskeletons in the battlefield.

Led by the NATO Explosive Ordnance Disposal Center of Excellence (EOD COE), the project lasted over a period of 2 years, from 2017 to 2019. It included 5 workshops and 2 extensive user trial sessions supervised by the NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine (MILMED COE).

The project was financed by NATO's Defence Against Terrorism Programme of Work (DAT POW), and was run in cooperation with the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA). Participant nations included Canada, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, the Slovak Republic, the United Kingdom and the United States.

1st NATO IEB Workshop, 14-15 November 2017, Trenčín, Slovakia

The initial workshop held in Trenčín, Slovakia, set the general framework to draft the NATO Minimum Military Requirements (MMR) for Exoskeletons in support of EOD operators and highlighted the initial requirements and issues for their integration in EOD operations.

2nd NATO IEB Workshop, 6-8 March 2018, Military Base Maj Housiau Quartier Peutie, Vilvoorde, Belgium

The aim of the 2nd workshop was to investigate and prove how the Exoskeleton Technology currently available in the market may apply direct assistance to the EOD operations and how it can support and enhance the EOD team mobility, endurance, precision on target and increase the payload capacity. During the workshop, MMRs were reviewed and two live trials were executed, when EOD teams conducted IEDD and CMD action using Exoskeleton Technologies. This successful event ended at the NATO Headquarters (HQ), where the concept of the project as well as current achievements were presented during the meeting of National Armament Directors Representatives (NADREP).

3rd NATO IEB Workshop, 17-19 October 2018, held within the Future Forces Forum (FFF), Prague, Czech Republic

The aim of the 3rd IEB workshop was to review the MMRs, discuss the results of the live demonstrations carried out in Belgium, conduct further demos, develop an initial draft of CONOPS, and review the Project Roadmap. A series of speakers from both sides of the Atlantic took the floor.

4th NATO IEB Workshop, 15-17 April 2019, Trenčín, Slovakia

The 4th IEB workshop was divided into two parts: User trials of Exoskeletons and the writing session. During the trials three (3) exoskeleton prototypes were tested in the experimental/trial area: Mawashi from Canada, Plica from Bulgaria and MechLab from Italy.

5th NATO IEB Workshop, 17-19 September 2019, Trenčín, Slovakia

The focus of this last workshop was to finalize the CONOPS document relating to exoskeleton technologies currently available on the market.

 

BACKGROUND

Mawashi's Ultralight Passive Ruggedized Integrated Soldier Exoskeleton (UPRISE®), initially developed for Special Operations Forces (SOF), is a wearable device that redirects the load carried by the soldier to the ground. This Passive Load-Bearing Exoskeleton developed by Mawashi is a disruptive technology that has the potential to change the way wars are fought by deeply transforming soldier systems, soldier modernization programs and load carriage domains.

Actually, lessening the soldier's burden is one of the top priorities of Armed Forces across the world. For a soldier equipped with the UPRISE® Passive Exoskeleton, it would be easier to transport its equipment (up to 120lb depending on missions) and its ease and range of motion would not be hampered by the carried weight as it is the case without the exoskeleton on. This will guarantee him dominance and efficiency on the battlefield while being equipped with all the tools and features required by its mission.

 
The need

Activities involving load transport are one of the major causes of musculoskeletal injuries for soldiers. When carried on long distances, the weight coming from soldier's equipment, backpack and ballistic plates can cause various injuries that affects at different level the efficiency of the soldier. In addition, heavy loads entail an increase in energetic cost (EC) of locomotion (metabolic expenditure) for the dismounted soldier, which in turn causes a premature exhaustion. Increase in soldier fatigue has been proven to reduce cognitive functions (reduced efficiency of the soldier in hostile environment) and to raise the risk of injuries, therefore load carriage is responsible for several lesions amongst the military population.

Most common injuries pertaining to load carriage generally affect the legs joints, the musculoskeletal system and the skin. Notably, blisters, lower back pain, metatarsalgia, bone fractures, knee pain and rucksack palsy were observed on many soldiers following intense load carriage sessions.

The UPRISE® Tactical Exoskeleton fulfils this imperative need to increase soldiers' protection against injuries that strongly hamper their capacity in theater of operation.

Wars taking place more and more in urban environments, soldiers will in a near future have to raise the frequency and duration of their pedestrian displacements, the targeted regions being hard or even impossible to reach with a vehicle.

 

Mawashi's solution

The UPRISE® Passive Exoskeleton is a complex structure made of high strength titanium that is perfectly adapted to the human body. Through its innovative and ultralight design, this exoskeleton achieve an unparalleled level of freedom of movement. In fact, with a minimal degree of resistance to movement, the UPRISE® Tactical Exoskeleton allows for all the movements involved during tactical maneuvers as well as other tasks required by dismounted soldiers and SOF operators. Its ruggedized and unique frame transfers from 50% to 80% of the load carried by warfighter's shoulders down to the ground.

The UPRISE® Patented Exoskeleton Technology consists of:

  • Flexible spine based on the human anatomy

  • Sliding belt for waist rotational degree of freedom

  • Fully articulated and ergonomic legs

 

KEY FEATURES

The key features of the UPRISE® Passive Load-Bearing Exoskeleton are:

  • Provides load transfer capacity in static and dynamic conditions

  • Reduces musculoskeletal stress when soldiers carry heavy body-borne loads

  • Reduces discomfort related to carriage of heavy body-borne loads

  • Provides a high degree of kinematic compatibility with the user

  • Does not alter significantly physiological parameters during gait

  • Does not alter significantly the soldier's strategies during execution of primary and secondary operational tasks

POTENTIAL BENEFITS FOR THE WARFIGHTER

Potential benefits of the UPRISE® Tactical Exoskeleton for the warfighter include:

  • Increased Performance

  • Increased Endurance

  • Increased Situational Awareness

  • Increased Combat Effectiveness

  • Decreased Musculoskeletal Injuries

  • Decreased Metabolic Expenditure

  • Decreased Fatigue

  • Decreased Discomfort

 

POTENTIAL Benefits for the Armed Forces

Potential direct and indirect benefits for Armed Forces related to the use of the UPRISE® Tactical Exoskeleton include:

  • Ensured Superiority & Dominance on the modern battlefield

  • Technological Advantage over near-peer competitors and threats against national interests

  • Enhanced Operational Readiness

  • Decreased Medical Costs

  • Decreased Rehabilitation Costs

  • Decreased Deployment Costs

 

CLICK HERE to download the UPRISE® Technology Overview document

 

CIVILIAN APPLICATIONS: Click here to learn more about Mawashi's Hybrid Exoskeleton with Upper Limb Actuation System