ASTM International’s new committee on exoskeletons and exosuits (F48) held its first meeting Feb. 13-14 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, near the organization’s global headquarters. The need for technical standards has grown alongside the rising use of exoskeletons in manufacturing, military, health, and other applications.
One of the group’s first new standards will support terminology that defines vocabulary, fosters a common understanding of key terms, and supports future technical standards (WK60882). Other subcommittees and task groups will focus on:
- design and manufacturing issues such as energy storage systems and passive versus active systems
- human factors and ergonomics issues including usability, safety, training, and anthropometric variables
- task performance and environmental considerations broken down by application (consumer, public safety personnel, industrial, medical, and military)
- maintenance and disposal issues, including decontamination, and
- security and information technology, including data privacy.
Donald R. Peterson is the committee’s first chairperson. He is the dean and a professor of mechanical engineering at the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Northern Illinois University.
Many major industry stakeholders attended the first meeting. They included companies such as Apptronik, Boeing, Briotix, Cyberdyne, Dow, Humotech, Sarcos, and Wuhan Hyetone Robotics. It also included key groups such as the Wearable Robotics Association and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. U.S. government agencies also attended, including the National Institute for Standards and Technology, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Food and Drug Administration.
The F48 committee formed last year as a result of the burgeoning industry’s need to address safety, quality, performance, ergonomics, and other issues. The group’s vision is to create standards that will apply to systems and components throughout the life cycle of exoskeletons and exosuits.