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Exoskeletons Being Utilized In Japan To Assist An Aging Workforce

6 months, 2 weeks ago

3492  0
Posted on Dec 18, 2019, 6 p.m.

Japan has a rapidly aging population which is currently at a record level of being 28% made up of those aged 65+ that has led to a shortage of workers, particularly in manual labor industries such as farming, manufacturing, and construction. 

To help address the shortage and help the older population able to meet the physical demands of their jobs and remain in the workforce longer several tech companies in Japan have developed assistive exoskeleton suits that makes it easier to lift.

One of the companies helping to develop this AgeTech is Innophys, the company has designed a number of suits that are worn like a backpack and are recharged by squeezing a hand pump 30 times to push air into the air powered muscles that allow the user to lift up to 55 pounds.

Panasonic also has a popular electric Atoun Model Y suit that adds 22 pound of lifting force. Toyota also has a motorized exoskeleton, and say their research is in part intended to support the aging labor force in addition to helping paralyzed people walk again.

These units and others like it are helping the aging population who need extra assistance in filling some of the gaps in the dwindling workforce in Japan. Currently the retirement age is 60 in Japan, but as the workforce shrinks the government is looking to increase the age to 70, meaning developing innovative solutions to assist the elderly in working are a priority. 

Japan is not the only country with an aging population, other countries such as America are watching to see how technology can step in to assist, and as the population keeps aging the demand for such assistive exoskeletons is predicted to keep increasing. 

Globally the sale of assistive robots for the elderly and handicap assistance will be around 37,500 units from 2016-2019, this number is expected to substantially increase over the next 20 years according to the International Federation of Robotics. 

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