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    Method and test course for the evaluation of industrial exoskeletons
    Ralfs, Lennart
    Hoffmann, Niclas
    In recent years, the trend for implementing exoskeletons in industrial workplaces has significantly increased. A variety of systems have been developed to support different tasks, body parts, and movements. As no standardized procedure for evaluating industrial exoskeletons is currently available, conducted laboratory and field tests with different setups and methodologies aim to provide evidence of, e.g., the support for selected isolated activities. Accordingly, a comparison between exoskeletons and their workplace applicability proves to be challenging. In order to address this issue, this paper presents a generic method and modular test course for evaluating industrial exoskeletons: First, the seven-phase model proposes steps for the comprehensive evaluation of exoskeletons. Second, the test course comprises a quick check of the system’s operational requirements as well as workstations for an application-related evaluation of exoskeletons’ (short-term) effects. Due to the vastness and heterogeneity of possible application scenarios, the test course offers a pool of modular configurable stations or tasks, and thus enables a guided self-evaluation for different protagonists. Finally, several exemplary exoskeletons supporting varying body regions passed the test course to evaluate and reflect its representativity and suitability as well as to derive discernible trends regarding the applicability and effectiveness of exoskeleton types.