The new EXO-O1 wearable exoskeleton from construction tool company Hilti North America will help commercial contractors, tradesman and management alike, tackle repetitive-stress health and safety as well as labor-shortage challenges. Wearable human augmentation devices such as exoskeletons will reduce strain and fatigue for both experienced and novice users, making the most of the available workforce at a time when the industry is struggling to fill open construction positions.
The EXO-O1 is Hilti’s first foray into exoskeletons for the construction industry. There will be more human augmentation developments to come from the brand. The exoskeleton development is initially focused on shoulder-height and above applications because this type of motion is so physically intensive and fatiguing.
To create the EXO-O1, Hilti Group partnered with Ottobock, provider of prosthetics, orthotics and exoskeletons that help people increase and retain their physical independence. Hilti is currently in real-world jobsite testing and will be bringing the exoskeleton to the market later this year.
"We want to improve the health and safety of our customers, directly impacting jobsite productivity – so they can stay on time and on budget,” said Johannes Huber, head of business unit Diamond Systems at Hilti Group, parent company of Hilti North America. “Customers that embrace innovation and invest in the latest health and safety technology will be better able to attract and retain the best people as well as keep their jobsites productive.”
Hilti understands that for customers to embrace technology transformation requires organizational change management and a focus on people. That’s why the company also plans to offer implementation, training and support services on site for Hilti customers’ teams.
In recent years, Hilti has worked with start-ups and other external partners to couple its understanding of customer pain points with new technologies and innovative solutions, including robotics, to create solutions for commercial construction challenges.
“Our innovations have always been fueled by our deep understanding of our customers' challenges and needs, so it’s only natural that we can drive innovation with solutions for human augmentation and jobsite automation,” said Rafael Garcia, senior VP and CMO of Hilti North America. “Human augmentation and jobsite automation innovations, alone or combined, will create productivity gains the likes of which haven’t been seen since cordless tools got a foothold in commercial construction.”