If you’ve ever worked a retail or factory job that requires long periods of standing, your body surely remembers how exhausted it felt at the end of the day. Archelis, a Yokohama-based startup, is showing off a solution at CES 2022: an exoskeleton suit that allows your body to rest while standing up.
“With back pain being the cause of one in every four medical leaves in Japan, some of the largest hospitals and manufacturers now use our Archelis suits as a form of PPE, or personal protective equipment,” said CEO Hideyuki Fujisawa.
Right now Archelis makes two versions of its exoskeleton assist suit — one for medical workers and one for factory workers. Both suits help your body balance and support your weight with your shins and thighs, protecting your body from lower back pain.
Now that the suits have found some success in Japan, Archelis is hoping it can launch them on a more global scale. If you happen to be attending CES in person this year, you can actually go try one on for yourself.
Self-contained and adjustable — Archelis is by no means the first company to develop exoskeleton suits to assist workers in their daily tasks. Two years ago at CES, Delta and Sarcos Robotics revealed a variety of mechanical suits that are being used to assist workers.
But Archelis’ approach is a little different. This suit is much easier to wear than most, for one thing — it’s adjustable to different body types and heights, and its separate-leg structure allows for much more freedom of movement.
These Archelis suits are also unusual in that they require absolutely no electricity to function. No heavy battery packs, no recharging; just slip it on, adjust the straps, and get to work.
Archelis says the suits have three modes: free mode, Archelis mode, and standing mode. Standing mode provides the most support; Archelis is a hybrid mode allowing for some knee-bending; and free mode will let users roam around freely, providing the least support of the three.
Early reviews are in — Archelis has seen significant success in real-world product testing in Japan.
“I felt like I was extremely free. It is very stable,” said Dr. Itaru Endo. “Our surgical operations sometimes last for 8-12 hours… The fatigue of standing for 12 hours and sitting for 12 hours is totally different.”
The Archelis suits are, by all accounts, extremely helpful. Now Archelis needs to convince employers to actually purchase them. That will present a definite challenge for the company — many factory jobs would rather push the human body to its absolute limits than pay extra for more workers or other support.