A wide array of exoskeletons is becoming available on the market to augment, enable, assist, and/or enhance the user’s physical activity. It is critical to identify and manage risks related to exoskeletons so as to prevent unacceptable risks to the safety and health of users, personnel and bystanders who interact with exoskeletons directly or indirectly. Exoskeletons entail a unique combination of safety concerns that distinguish them from other modern technologies. These include: (1) a large diversity of integrated components and technologies; (2) a wide array of applications; and (3) tight kinematic and kinetic coupling to the user. Numerous standard guidelines, processes and test methods are becoming available to guide exoskeleton producers and implementers on particular aspects of risk management. While these guidelines and methods are relevant and important to assess exoskeleton related safety concerns, their isolated application may be insufficient to ensure prevention of unacceptable risks. Guidelines to risk management that encompass the entire exoskeleton life-cycle and that define roles and responsibilities of respective stakeholders in risk management are needed.
The title and scope are in draft form and are under development within this ASTM Committee.