“We’ve had customers who have said they can now go home and play with their kids,” exclaims Meghan Kennelly, Head of Global Marketing for German Bionic. Speaking at CES2023, Kennelly is talking about the benefits that the German Bionic exoskeletons bring to workers. German Bionic’s Apogee and CrayX (for harsh environments) exoskeletons provide up to 66 lbs. of lifting compensation, while also supporting walking and climbing.
A 2022 paper, “Bionic Exoskeletons“, by Dr. Herbert Schuster and Bertalan Meskó, MD, Ph.D. categorize the market for exoskeletons into two segments: rehabilitation and industrial. Rehabilitation exoskeletons are finding use in helping treat spinal cord injuries, strokes, acquired brain injuries, and multiple sclerosis. Industrial exoskeletons are about helping people do their respective jobs, whether at a warehouse, or a construction site, or helping shift a patient to a more comfortable position in his hospital bed.
There are two types of exoskeletons, passive and active. Passive exoskeletons support the user with mechanical leverage through components such as springs, dampers, and pneumatic components (e.g., compressed air). In Japan, a consumer market is developing for passive exoskeletons.
Powered exoskeletons contain active components, such as motors and actuators, to provide power assistance when and as needed. The powered exoskeletons from German Bionic are also connected. This means that the exoskeleton becomes a human-worn sensor that provides real-time data to improve workforce safety, efficiency, and productivity.
These improvements flow to the bottom line as Kennelly believes that the approximately $250 per month for their device is well worth the risk mitigation and improved work environment. Her belief is reflected in the aforementioned paper as the market size is expected to grow to over $12B and 900k units from less than $3B and 100k units, respectively in 2022.