The Airframe exoskeleton makes light of hard work at CES 2019
So you've seen me fly and surf Kelly's latest perfect artificial wave, get shocked by the full-body Tesla suit, and lift plenty of heavy boxes.
This is beta test live on the CNet stage at CES and I'm Lexi Savetes.
If you're wondering what I'm wearing?
It is an exoskeleton by Air Frame, that's the name of the product, and the company is Levitate.
I am joined by Joseph Suwaida, Joseph, welcome to CES.
Thank you so much for having us.
Thank you for bringing in this exoskeleton.
Now for people that arene't familiar with exoskeletons, What exactly is it and what does it do?
Yes, this is an egonomic technology that supports the upper extremety of factory workers, sugeons, consumers in general.
So it's worn as an egonomic device that is considered like any other personal detechtive equipment.
So, in the factory, building, cars or aeroplanes, you can come in, put in your.
Earplugs, put on your safety shoes, your safety glasses and you reframe to protect the musculoskeletal system of your upper body like the shoulder, neck and back.
So it's just another piece of equipment that you would suit up with another day on the factory assembly right?
So let's walk through some of the components.
I mean obviously It's kind of like a backpack in how I put it on.
Maybe I'll turn around and you can kind point out each of the components that I'm wearing.<<>>Absolutely, it's very much like back pack and backpacks.
You've got the frame that is rigid and made out of aluminum, that goes all the way down the spine to the outside of the hips.
What this rigid frame does is it takes the load off your arms.
Through a spring and pulley and cable mechanism inside what we call the cassette.
And then that weight of your arms is offloaded onto the spine, not to your lower back but to the outside of these struts to the outside of the hips.
So this is taking all of that weight for me essentially.
So I'm not exercising much of my muscle capacity, correct?
Correct, instead of using 100% of your muscle, you are using 70 to 80% of your muscle.
So when we take 10 to 30% off the edge, That's what makes the big difference in reducing injury, reducing fatigue and not impacting productivity.
So what tou're saying is really I could potentially be Iron Man right?
You can potentially be Iron Man [LAUGH]
[LAUGH] Excellent okay, so Where is this being currently used?
Do you have clients that are using it in factories, like real world situations right now?
We absolutely do.
We've been deploying hundreds of them at single factories.
We have 80 global customers in the U.S., central and southern America, Canada, Europe and Japan.
One of our biggest customers and unfortunately, a lot of them don't allow us to talk about on sale.
But I can name some great companies like Toyota, Textron Aviation, BMW Manufacture.
We are in five plans In North America at Toyota.
So it's being used in a lot of different places to help.
In a lot of different places.
And also the whole point is to help workers stop getting injured, and to help them work more effectively essentially.
Okay so you and I are wearing Slightly different models, aren't we?
So this is the regular airframe.
This one, it looks a little different.
I can notice the fabric is a little bit different.
What is this one?
So this is our latest innovation and addition to our product line And it is our fire retardant air frame.
So I could, if you get sparks or anything, it's totally fire retardant?
It is either covered by fire retardant fabric or all the buckles, all the straps, all the soft goods are fire retardant.
So All the material you see here is different than the material you have.
You don't wanna have a welder put this on and have the sparks create fire.
So they put on their welding jackets and put on this airframe on top of it.
And it's just like the one you're wearing And functional just the same.
But it could be used for welding and what we call hot work, such as grinding and sanding and so forth.
It's a whole new line of products that we're introducing.
One of them is this is this FR version.
I'm kind of scared to know the sort of testing that you had to do to make sure that it was really fire-resistant.
The US Navy was kind enough to actually do the testing.
They looked at all the specs.
They made sure that we did everything right.
And they validated it and they actually approved its testing in Seattle by the Navy.
So we got the green light from them to start manufacturing and providing them the product.
We're looking at some footage of it actually being used in car settings in factories right now.
So there is a lot of overhead work there like drilling and things like that.
And obviously this is gonna support the arms in order to make that easier, right?
So obviously that;s a factory specific situation, but we've kind of simulated something a little bit Factory like here, we have some shelves and I think you're gonna put me to work.
Yes, I will.
Okay, so let's start turning things on.
Okay so right now it is deactivated.
And if you would get your arms out of the device please, I will just activate both sides and I ask you to swing your arms back in.
Okay And now it's active and it's helping you.
My arms are just totally just being held up automatically.
Like I don't feel like I'm doing anything.
I'm just, it's easy.
When your arms are low
The force goes away so you can
Okay, so I'm moving around normally now.
And then my arms are open.
I can stand here all day.
I don't know why I would.
In a normal situation, if I was in a factory doing things involving a lot of reaching out
That would be very handy.
It's like a helping hand.
You know when you raise you arm and you start to feel that fatigue?
That's when that mechanism kicks in, and it goes away when your arms are dropped.
So, I noticed there are cartridges here.
And, is that for a different level of strength?
We have six different levels of strength, and the number that you see there, if I can point that out
You are wearing a number three cassette.
So that's in the middle of the range for the support level.
You can have the right size arm rest, right size cassette, right size frame.
These frames come in four different sizes.
The cassettes come in multiple levels.
So do the arm rest.
Once we configure it for you, it's set that way and you never have to change it again.
And so what are these components that we have here?
This is all part of it?
These are all accessories that our [UNKNOWN] have actually asked us to develop.
So they're always finding new needs for their exoskeleton.
This is the mini-version of the head rest that you are wearing.
Sometimes they're wearing hard hats In the factories.
So that would get in the way.
It would get in the way.
So the idea of this headrest is so if I'm doing something overhead.
It's quite comfortable actually.
I can just sit here and look at the ceiling if I wanted to.
And it wouldn't putting a strain on my head.
If you look up for more than two minutes without a headrest you'll start feeling the strain.
This takes that away.
Again, it doesn't take away all the muscle activity.
It takes away 20 to 30% of the muscle activity.
And that's crucial in order to help prevent injury, right?
Yes, it is.
Yes, it is.
It's that excess inflammation.
At the end of the day when the worker goes that was a long day.
That aching is what we get rid of.
Okay, let's try this out.
I actually wanna try this out cuz that's the whole point of this show is I get to try things.
And experience them for you.
Okay, so what am I gonna be doing here?
Picking and packing, right?
One of the latest entries into the exoskeletal world for us is picking and packing at fulfilment centers.
So what we wanted to do Is simulate a picking and packing environment which people do all day long at fulfillment centers like Amazon, Walgreens, whatever the case may be.
And we want you to do exactly what they do which is put the bottles as, and you can imagine these being any type of merchandise Put them in here, just close it as if you taped it and you pushed it to the conveyor belt.
We'd like to do this cycle once without the exoskeloton being activated.
So switch it off.
So let me deactivate it if you get your arm out, one more time.
All right, so if you don't mind then go at it with five bottles in here and three in here.
Five and three all right.
Here we go, putting me to work packing.
I mean, three, four, five, take it out, seal up the box, push it aside.
Two, and three, coming in, okay, so It's not that strenuous right now.
Because I only did eight bottles.
But if I was doing that for eight hours a day, five days a week, that would be incredibly strenous.
That same repetitive motion.
Okay so now I have an idea of what that's like.
We're gonna put them all back.
That was without the exoskeleton.
Without the A frame so lets try this again one more time.
Sid there's a lot of Fiji water here.
That's so if your going off to the Golden Globes name the Fiji girl.
Maybe, maybe, maybe.
Okay let me activate it for you.
All rights lets reactivate.
I'll put your bottles back in.
In we go.
And repeat the test.
It's so much easier because it feels like I have very little activation in my upper arm, very, very little.
I feel like most of the work, and it's not even work, is just coming from my hand just to grab.
So it's not strenuous at all.
If I am not so clumsy and dropped the water bottles everywhere.
Okay, that is incredibly so much easier.>>>It doesnt replace your arm right, it just augments it, just enought to take the edge off.>>>Exactly Exactly right, so that's for picking and packing, what about lifting and other kind of motions like that, will this help with that?
It does not help with lifting, it is not a lumbar support technology.
What it does is it's for movement of the arms whether it's static, or repetitive.
So if you're welding all day long, or picking and packing.
One other type of work that you referenced earlier Is overhead work.
This happens a lot.
It's a lot.
We are currently working with a fulfillment center that is being built, and you have to install the water sprinklers in a million square foot facility.
That's a lot of installation right there.
A lof of installation, so they use it to build the fulfillment center, and then they use it for the picking and packer and pickers when they.
Get in there.
But I want you to just hold this up for a couple of seconds with the air frame activated, and then I want to remove it from your arm and you tell me the difference of what it does for you.
We always need to set a timer or something.
I mean, this is very comfortable.
Like, I could stay here feasibly for I think I could probably last ten minutes in this position easily.
At least, at least.
I would say so, I would say so.
Yeah, I mean, it doesn't feel uncomfortable at all.
Okay, so if I'm gonna put it down now.
No, actually leave it right there.
Leave it there, okay, you're gonna, okay.
And I am just gonna, leave your arm in the same position.
And I'm just gonna do this.
That's not comfortable [LAUGH] at all.
That is so uncomfortable.
I can feel it all there in my bicep.
I mean, great if you wanna be doing some weight training, but doing this everyday at work,
so incredibly repetitive, and so very painful.
It is, it is.
It makes such a difference.
It really is, you know, these workers work so hard, companies like Toyota, they don't call them workers, they call them team members.
Cuz these people are building the cars they are selling.
So they want to take care of them as much as they can because they know that they ache and get tired at the end of the day.
So with us we feel it right away.
With these people they live with it every day.
So it's making a very big difference for them.
So let's talk about price.
If I wanted to buy one of these and I'm an everyday consumer What are we looking at?
So we are currently not marketing into the consumer world.
Come on I really wanna buy one now.
We have a lot of these big companies that are constantly working with us to do studies, and to improve the technology, and they're buying them in large numbers for their workers.
It retails, at the distributor level for $5000, just under $5000.
And obviously, is there a bulk discount?
There is a bulk discount.
If you buy multiple.
Cuz probably you're buying hundreds of them at a time.
When we work with a company like Toyota, for example, theres
Definitely some special pricing.
This has been fantastic.
Thank you so much for coming in Joseph and showing me all about the Airframe by Levitate.
It's been a pleasure.