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Lowe's rolls out robot exosuits to improve employee productivity

Lowe's employees are getting a futuristic new uniform: A robotic suit. The home improvement company partnered with Virginia Tech researchers to develop an exosuit, or a wearable robot suit with lift-assist technology, for store employees to wear. The lightweight exosuit is designed to help employees more easily lift and move products throughout the store, and to help avoid muscle fatigue. "Our employees ensure our stores are always ready for customers," said Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe's Innovation Labs, in a press release. "As a way to support them, we found a unique opportunity to collaborate with Virginia Tech to develop one of the first retail applications for assistive robotic exosuits." The first four suits are already in use by a stocking team at the Lowe's store in Christiansburg, VA. The idea for the suit was pioneered by Lowe's Innovation Lab, the company's disruptive technology arm that works with science fiction writers to envision how technology can provide "superpowers" to employees to maximize performance. Lowe's partnered with Alan Asbeck, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech, and a team of eight graduate and undergraduate students from Virginia Tech's Assistive Robotics Laboratory, to bring the exosuit to life.

Read More: TechRepublic

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