Ekso Bionics has been making exoskeletons since 2005. Originally designed with the military in mind, but then later shifted to physical therapy. In more recent years, they have begun targeting more physical professions, especially those with repetitive tasks or a lot of lifting. One of their most recent products is called the EksoVest.
The EksoVest is an upperbody vest designed to elevate and support a worker’s arms for tasks at chest heights and above. Through the use of springs, it provides up to 15 pounds of lift assistance per arm. That’s enough to make most power tools feel like nothing.
One of the best parts about the system is that it’s all mechanical, so it doesn’t need a power source to operate. Just strap in on and go to work. Weighing in at only 9.5 pounds, it should light enough to wear comfortable all day.
There are so many construction applications that this technology seems like a real win, including overhead drilling, grinding, chipping, running conduit, refrigeration and plumbing lines, and even just lifting.
Currently, UK contractor Willmott Dixon is trialing the EksoVest on a new school development in Cardiff, Wales. According to Willmott Dixon, they are the first company in the industry to trial the new tech. According to the article linked above, the vest costs about 5,650 Pound, which is over $7,000 US.
The Ford Motor Company is also partnering with Ekso Bionics to test the vest in their manufacturing plants. The original test included two US plants and the company plans to expand the use of the vest to other regions, including Europe and South America.
Check out this video of how the vest would work on a construction site:
A few technology companies have been trying to wedge augmented reality into construction for a few years now, boasting benefits of overlaying BIM models onto the real life site you’re working on, as well as interactive collaboration with remote workers. One of those companies that we thought was going to make a pretty big impact is apparently closing its doors in the near future.
As much as I like my smartphone, it’s undeniable that they can be a huge distraction on the job site or in a vehicle. The construction industry is dangerous enough without these added distractions, so at least one US contractor has decided to proactively manage their employee’s smartphone usage.
With temperatures globally trending warmer each year, that heat can take quite a toll on professions that rely heavily on exterior labor, like the construction industry. There are many products available currently to help keep you cool on the jobsite, but the best may still be yet to come.
Drones have been heavily used by the construction industry in recent years for anything from progress photos, to employee tracking, or calculating the volume of on-site stockpiles. Now, a report from EHS Today says that OSHA plans to employ more drones to conduct site inspections of employer facilities.
As part of Autodesk’s late 2018 construction technology acquisition spree, the software giant gobbled up both PlanGrid and BuildingConnected. The two acquired companies now form a large part of Autodesk’s Construction Solutions branch – and are now integrated with each other for a seamless document transition from the pre-construction phase to the construction phase.
Last year at Groundbreak, Procore’s annual technology conference, the company teased a new platform they have been working on for BIM users. At that point referred to as “Design Coordination,” it now has a formal name – and an upcoming release date.
One of the key components of BIM is the ability to detect clashes, which are design coordination issues that result in the inability to construct a building as drawn. The use of 3-dimensional drawings allows contractors –and software- to detect if key building components are intersecting before it’s about to be installed in the field. Autodesk BIM 360 has recently updated its clash detection abilities within its Model Coordination module more easily and efficiently within its platform.
Hot off of the acquisition of Honest Buildings, a project management software aimed at owners and developers, Procore has announced they have acquired yet another tech company to help bolster their offerings.
Construction Management software company, Procore, initially launched their annual technology conference, Groundbreak, back in 2015. Originally hosted at their headquarters in California, the event has grown exponentially from that first year and this year may be its biggest yet.
In 2015, Milwaukee announced the release of their digital tool tracking platform: ONE-KEY. The company has since released dozens of ONE-KEY enabled tools to manage them using Bluetooth, an inventory management system, and tool reporting functionality. Yesterday, the company announced several enhancements to the platforms inventory and reporting interfaces.