Robotic suit gives Lowe's employees 'super powers'

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The light-weight exosuit reinforces proper lifting form and is intended to make lifting heavy objects easier. Photo credit: Lowe's Companies, Inc.

Lowe's wants to give its employees "super powers" with the implementation of 'exosuits.'

The robotic-like body suit being tested in the Christianburg, Virginia store was designed in collaboration with  the Assistive Robotics Lab at Virginia Tech to help workers more easily lift and move products throughout the store and lessen muscle fatigue.

"The lift-assistance exosuits are designed specifically to keep these employees strong and healthy," said Kyle Nel of Lowe's Innovation Labs, the company's disruptive technology hub.

The body suit works like a bow-and-arrow.

The back and leg portion is made of carbon fiber. When the employee bends down, the exosuit stores energy,  when the person straightens up, it returns the energy.

"As a way to support them, we found a unique opportunity to collaborate with Virginia Tech to develop one of the first retail applications for assistive robotic exosuits," said Nel.