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SOPHIA: deploying robots for improved ergonomy

  • November 8, 2021

VUB research by research group Human Physiology and Sports Physiotherapy (MFYS) shows that more than half of European workers have long-term muscle and bone complaints.

Innovative robots, cobots and exoskeletons that can relieve that work and make it healthier are therefore a major economic and social challenge. The EU-funded SOPHIA project is a good example of a multidisciplinary approach in which robotic tools such as exoskeletons, exosuits and collaborative robots are being developed to protect the industrial worker from developing such complaints.

SOPHIA’s goal is to create safe, hybrid workplaces for humans and robots, ultimately reducing absenteeism and increasing the productivity of organizations. As such, robotics and core lab manager Bram Vanderborght of BruBotics will be responsible for the software design to control the robots. Kevin de Pauw, project coordinator at MFYS Human Physiology research group, will conduct research into how people react physically and cognitively to the use of robots. Finally, Prof. An Jacobs – associated with research group SMIT, which was cofounded by strategic research center imec – will evaluate the social acceptance and desirability of the innovations from a centrally human point of view.  

Picture by SOPHIA.

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