Hyundai Develops Wearable Exoskeleton to Reduce Worker Fatigue
Isaac Maw posted on September 10, 2019 |

Hyundai Motor Group has developed  the new Vest EXoskeleton (VEX), a wearable robot created to assist industrial workers who spend long hours working in overhead environments.

The VEX is designed to enhance productivity and reduce fatigue of industrial workers by imitating the movement of human joints to boost load support and mobility. The wearable vest uses the polycentric axis – combining multiple pivot points with multi-link muscular assistance – to function, eliminating the need for a battery.



At 2.5kg, VEX weighs 22-42% less than competing products and is worn like a backpack. The user places their arms through the shoulder straps of the vest, then fastens the chest and waist buckles. The back section can adjust in length by up to 18 cm to fit a variety of body sizes, while the degree of force assistance can be adjusted over six levels – up to as much as 5.5 kgf.

The device is similar to the Comau Mate, which is also an unpowered wearable exoskeleton designed for the same purpose. Check out our video trying out the Mate here.

"VEX gives workers greater load support, mobility, and adaptability when operating in overhead environments," stated DongJin Hyun, head of Robotics team of Hyundai Motor Group. "Workers will also appreciate how light VEX is to wear and work with."

The newly-developed VEX is targeted at production-line workers whose job is primarily overhead, such as those bolting the underside of vehicles, fitting brake tubes, and attaching exhausts. The development of the VEX included a pilot program in two Hyundai Motor Group plants in the US. The trial was widely successful in assisting workers and boosting productivity and both plants incorporated VEX systems in their production lines.

The Group is considering on implementing the VEX on plants around the world. It is expected to go into commercial production in December by Hyundai Rotem.

With skilled workers becoming more difficult to find and keep in the manufacturing industry, devices like these that make their jobs easier will likely become more popular.


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