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STTR Phase II: Lower Extremity Exoskeleton Assist Device for Reducing the Risk of Back Injuries among Workers

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0956801
Agency Tracking Number: 0739552
Amount: $500,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: AM
Solicitation Number: NSF 07-551
Solicitation Year: 2010
Award Year: 2010
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
2546 10th St
Berkeley, CA 94710
United States
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Kurt Amundson
 (415) 533-8062
Business Contact
 Kurt Amundson
Phone: (415) 533-8062
Research Institution
 University of California-Berkeley
 Homayoon Kazerooni
2546 10th St
Berkeley, CA 94710
United States

 (510) 332-7058
 Nonprofit College or University

This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II project proposes will study the technology barriers associated with creating exoskeleton assist devices for workers in distribution centers and automobile assembly plants. By using these devices, workers can dramatically reduce the load in the vertebrae of the lower back when maneuvering parts and boxes. The assist device will take the majority of the load off of the user?s body. Such collaboration between humans and machines has the benefit of the intellectual advantage of humans coupled with the strength advantage of machines. The proposed project involves the University of California at Berkeley as research partner, General Motors Corporation, and the U.S. Postal Service. The end goal is a reduction in back injuries in the workplace which are considered by OSHA the nation?s number one workplace safety problem.
The broader impacts of this research are reduced worker?s compensation insurance costs, reduced disability payments, increased worker productivity, and the ability for workers to keep working into their older years. Furthermore, these new devices will open an entirely new market which will serve an important role in establishing the United States as the number one player in the emerging field of bionics. Additionally, establishing this market for exoskeletons will enable the development of other exoskeleton markets which include military exoskeletons for carrying backpack and body armor loads, rescue worker exoskeletons, stair climbing exoskeletons for urban firefighters, and wild-land firefighter exoskeletons. The potential impacts to worker safety and American quality of life are large and diverse.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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