Merging body and machine: Wearable robotics is a growing industry in Greater Phoenix
WearRAcon19 kicks of its fourth annual wearable robotics conference
Wearable robotics are changing lives in surprising ways and this industry has become bigger than ever. In fact, the global wearable robotic exoskeleton market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 43.48%, during the forecast period from 2018 to 2028 and reach $5.4 billion by 2028, according to a report by BIS Research.
For its fourth year in a row, the Wearable Robotics Association Conference, WeaRAcon19, is hosting its event in Greater Phoenix, Arizona. Attendees from more than 20 countries including Europe and Asia have come together for a common purpose to transform human capabilities by merging body and machine.
To kick off the conference, attendees witnessed a robot parade, showcasing 10 wearable exoskeleton devices from companies around the globe. These exoskeletons performed to beats provided by Shadow Mountain High School’s drumline. Following the impressive performance, Dr. Hugh Herr, a professor from MIT Media Lab, gave a keynote presentation on NeuroEmbodied Design, spotlighting fully integrated exoskeletons applied to people. As a double amputee, Dr. Herr knows first-hand the importance of the advancements being made in this industry.
During the conference, Renee Nelson, a reporter from Fox 10 News interviewed Dr. Joe Hitt, executive director of Wearable Robotics Association and asked, “Why Phoenix?”
“Because it’s a wonderful place to live. It’s sunny, and we have a lot of talent here and we want to make this region the wearable tech hub,” said Dr. Joe Hitt.
Additionally, he highlighted a specific exoskeleton that can help work-related back pain. For example, if you’re a lettuce picker or construction worker, Laevo’s wearable chest and back support device dissipates all the strain in your back, making it feel like your chest is floating in the air. The device also adapts to every posture and prevents the overuse of your spine and back muscles.
According to Hitt, about 89 million people in the U.S. are exposed to injuries on the job.
“We’re trying to help that person be part of this larger autonomous artificial intelligence ecosystem,” said Dr. Joe Hitt.
“That’s the trend. These exoskeletons will augment the person versus replace the person and we’re excited about that.”
In addition to the main events and keynote presentations, the rest of the conference will feature two signature programs, the Innovation Challenge and the Bridge Program. Both programs are designed to provide teams and companies the opportunity to create connections with international companies and potential partners in the field.
The conference will also feature spotlight demos from companies like Angel Robotics and presenters from BMW, Intel, ASTM, Columbia University, Kessler Foundation, and more. The full schedule can be found here.
Wearable robotics are changing lives in interesting ways through its technology and Greater Phoenix has a bright future ahead of it. Learn more about our large wearable presence and sign up for The Connected Place newsletter.
Check out the exclusive exoskeleton parade below.