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ErgoX Symposium: Exoskeletons in the Workplace - Assessing Safety, Usability, & Productivity

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Monday, October 1, 2018, 8:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.  |  View the flyer.

The ErgoX Symposium will premiere during the Annual Meeting as a full-day event on Monday, October 1. The symposium aims at

  • providing an update on human factors, safety, and ergonomics research methods for exoskeletons;

  • highlighting standards and technology on exoskeletons; and

  • informing and educating stakeholders (designers, users, and researchers) about exoskeleton types, applications, and their potential to reduce injuries and increase human performance (productivity, quality, etc.). 

Organized in cooperation with the ASTM International Committee on Exoskeletons and Exosuits F48, the ErgoX exoskeleton symposium will bring together professionals from three groups to share their knowledge, experience, and goals:

  1. Designers and producers will showcase and demonstrate their products.  

  2. Researchers from universities and government agencies will provide information on approaches to the design of human factors research on exoskeletons to appropriately assess fit, usability, safety, ergonomics, productivity and cost-effectiveness.

  3. Users and workers with experience using exoskeletons in production environments will share their evaluation methods, expectations, and findings, both positive and negative.

Morning Keynote Address – Wearable Robotic Systems: Global Landscape and Opportunities

Presented by Bruce Floersheim

Wearable robotic systems are quickly changing the realm of possibility with regard to optimizing human performance and improving physical rehabilitation. Floersheim will present an overview of the ecosystem of wearable robotics, provide a picture of global development and growth, and look at possibilities and issues of concern that will impact the future of the ergonomics and human factors in the next decade.

Bruce Floersheim
   Bruce Floersheim

Bruce Floersheim is chief operations officer and cofounder of GoX Studio (www.goxstudio.com), a small product development company focused on wearable and robotic technologies that enhance health, performance, and quality of life. Currently he is supporting execution of a human performance optimization product commercialization to provide ergonomists with the next generation of quantitative assessment tools to assess and enhance workplace safety and human performance. He is also chief executive officer and cofounder of FITT Scientific, a government contracting (govcon) services company that has grown in 36 months from the two original founders to more than 160 employees working across both coasts of the United States supporting training at U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard bases. In his spare time, he is director of operations for the Wearable Robotics Association (WearRA – www.wearablerobotics.com), a trade association he cofounded that helps to bring together businesses, U.S. government program leaders, innovators, and technologies in this emerging technical field to establish international standards and to link buyers with sellers. He previously served 25 years on active duty in the U.S. Army, with 5 years in overseas assignments and operational and combat tours. He has a PhD in mechanical engineering and is a graduate of West Point, Class of 1989.

Afternoon Keynote Address – Ergonomic Assessment of a Spacesuit Exoskeleton: From The Perspective of Population Analysis, Fit, Accommodation, Comfort, and Performance

Presented by Sudhakar Rajulu

Evaluation of an exoskeleton is necessary to ensure a successful, safe, and comfortable deployment into a workplace with a wide range of users. Dr. Rajulu will present a comprehensive approach undertaken by the Anthropometry and Biomechanics Facility at NASA to assess and improve the design of a pressurized spacesuit being worn by astronauts for microgravity and partial gravity environments. He will also present the necessary essential steps on how to evaluate prototypes of a complex ensemble such as a spacesuit exoskeleton for a large user population with potentially limited test subjects’ data.

Sudhakar Rajulu
 Sudhakar Rajulu​

Dr. Sudhakar Rajulu is serving as Technical Manager for the Anthropometry and Biomechanics Facility within the Biomedical Research and Environmental Sciences Division of the NASA-Johnson Space Center. His research is focused on establishing and ensuring that all space hardware and tools are designed to fit, accommodate, and enable all crewmembers, and to that extent has developed and continues to develop novel techniques, methods, tools, and processes to derive necessary human physical performance related requirements and considerations. His areas of expertise include: occupational biomechanical assessment of human physical performance in reduced and earth gravity environments which include: hand strength capabilities, pressurized suit and glove performance, whole body mobility capabilities, three-dimensional surface anthropometry related to crew-space hardware design and evaluation, and digital human modeling, Dr. Rajulu serves on the Scientific Board for IEA sponsored International Human Digital Modeling as well as on the Program Board for the HCI sponsored International Digital Human Modeling Committee. He also serves on the International Ergonomics Journal review board.

Stay tuned to this page for program agenda updates.




Platinum SponsorLiberty Mutual Insurance



Gold Sponsor – Boeing is the world's largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, defense, space and security systems, and service provider of aftermarket support. Find out what Boeing is doing to advance ergonomics and create wearable machines that protect workers from injuries, while enhancing their performance and capabilities for building and servicing our amazing products.



Morning Refreshment Break SponsorF48 on Exoskeletons and Exosuits is the newest addition to ASTM’s robotics portfolio. F48 will be supporting the industry with robust voluntary consensus standards for human factors and ergonomics, design and manufacturing, maintenance security and more. Hear about its impact here. ASTM is excited to work with HFES to advance this technology in the marketplace!



Continental Breakfast for Attendees​ Sponsor – The Levitate AIRFRAME™ is a wearable exoskeleton engineered to improve upper extremity musculoskeletal health for workers who engage in repetitive motion. Lightweight and customizable to fit any body type, the AIRFRAME™ moves seamlessly with the user – and without intruding into the workspace or limiting motion or dexterity.



Morning Refreshment Break SponsorNorthern Illinois University is a premier student-centered public research institution. In the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, students work side by side with faculty on industry-connected research. Ergonomics and biomedical devices are just two of the many fields in which NIU researchers are creating a brighter tomorrow.