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Industrial Transformation

Workers with a sensor glove lift loads like Obelix

Despite digitization, lifting heavy loads remains part of everyday life in production halls. Fraunhofer researchers have now developed a glove that is operated intuitively and can lend a powerful helping hand.

24 Apr. 2018
Workers with a sensor glove lift loads like Obelix (Photo: Ludmilla Parsyak, © denis_smirnov – IAO)

It’s not always very heavy parts that cause a problem. Frequent and constant carrying of smaller loads can also be exhausting – and cause health problems. Employees in logistics, for example, have an increased risk of chronic and degenerative musculoskeletal disorders, warns the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO. The use of tools is therefore a recommendation that also appears in the brochure “ Lifting and carrying without damage ” issued by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA). In addition, loads should be reduced to easily manageable sizes as far as possible and the workload should be distributed evenly to keep fatigue to a minimum.

Together with other project partners, the Fraunhofer IAO has now developed SensHand , a sensor glove with integrated pressure, bending and position sensors for gesture-based control of the power-assisted hoist. A condition of the prototype development was the requirement that the system should be intuitive to use; the background to this is that previous aids have not been as well received in practice as was hoped. The specific task of the power glove is to assist users with lifting, but without restricting their movement. The SensHand is not ready for the market yet. But several companies have already identified a “high potential for application and use” according to the Fraunhofer IAO.