For Immediate Release: December 6, 2019
WearRAcon Europe: Conference and Hands-On Testing of Industrial Exoskeletons Deemed a Full Success!
November 19-20 marked the first Annual WearRAcon Europe Conference! The presence of 120 attendees, 16 exhibitors, and more than 30 very informative lectures on industrial, medical and military exoskeletons helped make WearRAcon Europe in Stuttgart an exciting event. Fraunhofer IPA and the University of Stuttgart’s Institute of Industrial Manufacturing and Management IFF organized this European version of WearRAcon, in close collaboration with the global exoskeleton interest group, the Wearable Robotics Association (WearRA) in Phoenix, Arizona (USA). Dr. Joe Hitt, Managing Director of WearRA and Dr. Urs Schneider, head of the Department of Biomechatronic Systems at Fraunhofer IPA and Conference Chair, opened the event. Dr. Jan Veneman, coordinator of the COST Action Wearable Robots, greatly supported the organization of the conference.
Fig. 1: Dr. Joe Hitt, Managing Director of WearRA and Dr. Urs Schneider, Fraunhofer IPA and Conference Chair opened the event.
Renowned exoskeleton expert, Dr. Thomas Sugar, Arizona State University, Co-Founder of WearRA and WearRAcon in Phoenix gave a great keynote overview on research in exoskeleton technology. Prof. Robert Riener, ETH Zurich showed new approaches in medical exoskeleton research and announced Cybathlon 2020 in Zurich.
Fig.2: Dr. Thomas Sugar, Arizona State University, Co-Founder of WearRA and WearRAcon gave a keynote on exoskeleton technology.
The first day of the conference began with the plenary session, where different experts shared their experience using exoskeletons. Dr. Marco Molinari, Director of the Spinal Center and of the Robotics Neurorehabilitation Laboratory of the Santa Lucia Foundation in Italy, took stock of new exoskeleton technologies for neurorehabilitation. Dr. Diego Torricelli, member of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), talked about the Eurobench project, the first unified benchmarking framework for robotic systems in Europe. Finally, Dr. Noël Keijsers from the Sint Maartens Clinic Research Department in the Netherlands shared the results of a training method for patients using rehabilitation exoskeletons at home.
In the afternoon, researchers from Germany, The Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Italy shared the status of their works in parallel sessions: Exoskeletons for Industrial Applications, Exoskeletons for Medical Applications, and Exoskeletons for Military Applications. A session was also dedicated for presentations from public and work insurance organizations to give their current perspective on exoskeletons.
To end the day, all participants shared a traditional German dinner at a well-known restaurant in the center of Stuttgart.
On the second day end-users, researchers and exoskeleton manufacturers enjoyed the hands-on testing possibilities in various production and logistics scenarios including overhead work as well as lifting and handling tasks. The room was full of end-users and exhibitors testing devices and networking.
Fig 3: Hands-on testing possibilities of exoskeletons at various scenarios.
2020 will bring WearRAcon to Phoenix for the 5th annual event, March 30 to April 1. Focus areas will include an Automotive Forum, a Logistics Forum, and an Insurance Forum, along with sessions on medical and rehabilitation. Keynote speakers will include: Mr. Norm Bafunno, Senior VP at Toyota Motor North America, Dr. Rich Mahoney, CEO and Founder of Seismic, Inc. and Dr. Michael Goldfarb, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Vanderbilt University. The event will also include an ASTM F48 Standards meeting on the Wednesday and Thursday following the conference.
After the success of this year’s event, we are excited to announce that WearRAcon Europe, chaired by Fraunhofer IPA and IFF at the University of Stuttgart will return in 2020 to Stuttgart, September 29 and 30. The event will extend the features of lively and concrete hands-on testing of industrial exoskeletons, along with a series of lectures.
Fig. 4: Dr. Urs Schneider, Dr. Enrique Bances, Uni Stuttgart, IFF and Dr. Christophe Maufroy, Fraunhofer IPA and student team say thank you and see you September 2020.
For more information contact:
Amy Gallagher, Conference Manager
Wearable Robotics Association