Keep staff healthy and productive with Ironhand 2.0: Bioservo Technologies AB (publ)
Ironhand – NASA Commercial Invention of the Year Award Winner 2020 – has gotten even better: medtech company Bioservo Technologies has released a new and improved version of the cutting-edge exoskeleton glove. In heavy industries where repetitive strain injuries are commonplace, the Ironhand 2.0 glove can save workers’ health as well as increasing business revenue by preventing injuries before they occur.
Hand related musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs are common in many industries such as manufacturing, construction, and others where the workers perform repetitive lifting and gripping activities. So far, there have been few ways of preventing such disorders leading to workers not being able to work. Sick leave and rehabilitation can lead to high costs, personnel absences resulting in loss of production and revenue. When it comes to ergonomics, the best intervention is prevention – making sure to have steps in place to actively prevent MSDs such as repetitive strain injuries.
At Bioservo, we have long worked on a way to solve the problem of hand related MSDs. We developed Ironhand, the world’s first active soft exoskeleton for the hand. Using preventive measures such as Ironhand 2.0 can save workers’ full use of hands while saving the company money. Ironhand mimics the grasp movements of the user’s hands, providing extra strength and endurance to the grip which helps to conserve the worker’s energy. It also reduces the risk of repetitive strain injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders, says Petter Bäckgren, CEO, Bioservo.
The grip-strengthening glove has since been trialled by workers in manufacturing and other industries prone to repetitive strain injuries, showing promising results. To further develop their invention, Bioservo released a new and improved version of the ergonomic exoskeleton glove on June 7, 2021. At the same time they launched the application IronConnect Pro, which analyses data from the glove when it is in use, making it easier to see risk factors and preventing injuries before they occur.
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Ironhand 2.0 – Keeping workers Strong, Healthy and Efficient
The innovative glove learns from the user through machine learning. After a while it can finish a movement or grip at just the slightest flick of the user’s fingers – having learned how the operator moves their hand before and during a certain task. As the system is connected to the internet through 4G or Wi-Fi, it continuously collects data that can be analyzed using the app IronConnect Pro. By implementing the innovative grip enhancing glove Ironhand 2.0 as a preventive measure against MSDs, businesses can save large sums of money that would otherwise be spent on paid sick leave, finding and training a replacement and rehabilitation. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 30 days of sick leave for musculoskeletal disorders cost $64.000,00 per incidence in the U.S. in 2018. A report from HELIX Competence Centre in Sweden stated that production- and HR managers have spent between €5.000,00 to €60.000,00 on redeployment following work-related health issues. This data clearly shows that allowing workers to continue performing repetitive and grip-intensive tasks without preventive measures is costly not only to the workers’ health but to the company as well. That is where preventive measures such as Ironhand 2.0 can save workers’ full use of hands while saving the company money.
Work-related MSDs – an expensive problem on the rise
The rise of work-related MSDs is a growing problem in Europe – a report from the European Agency for Safety and Health at work showed a 9 percent increase of work-related RSIs from 2014 to 2019. In Sweden, Arbetsmiljöverket (the Swedish Work Environment Authority) noticed the increase of work-related musculoskeletal disorders to such a degree that in November 2019 they increased the requirements for medical controls. The requirements now include industries with hand-intensive work tasks where the workers are prone to RSIs. A great way of making sure that workers do not suffer these disorders while making sure to pass any medical controls is to ensure that there are preventative measures in place. This way, you can see if the operator is in danger of an RSI before it happens – enabling you to take action and prevent the injury before it occurs.