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Biomechanical Evaluation of Back-Support Exoskeletons during Patient Transfers
Individual Differences in Performance
DescriptionThe purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of three back-support exoskeletons (FLx ErgoSkeleton, V22 ErgoSkeleton, Laevo V2.5) and patient transfer methods on the musculoskeletal loading and usability during patient transfers. In a repeated-measures laboratory study, 20 caregivers performed 24 bed-to-wheelchair transfer tasks. The trunk flexion and lateral flexion angles, hand pull forces, and muscle activities of the erector spinae were significantly different by exoskeleton conditions and patient transfer methods (p’s < 0.01). The usability was significantly affected by exoskeleton designs (p’s < 0.01). There were significant two-way interaction effects on the trunk angles and muscle activities of the erector spinae (p’s < 0.01). For the squat pivot method, back-support exoskeletons showed the largest reduction of erector spinae muscle activities compared to no exoskeleton. This indicated the effects of exoskeleton conditions on the trunk postures and erector spinae muscle activities depended on the patient transfer method.