Hyundai's innovative Vest Exoskeleton wins Red Dot Design Award

Hyundai's innovative Vest Exoskeleton wins Red Dot Design Award

The Hyundai Motor Group's latest exoskeleton wearable robot, the Vest Exoskeleton (VEX), has won the Product Design category (Innovative Product field) at the Red Dot Design Awards.

The VEX was developed in line with Hyundai Motor Group's commitment to the health and safety of its industrial workers. It is designed to prevent injuries while advancing the field of robotics, earning praise from judges at the 60th annual international Red Dot Design competition.

"This award is a testament to the collaboration between the Robotics Lab and the Hyundai Design Centre," said Dong Jin Hyun, head of the Robotics Lab at the Hyundai Motor Group. "Under Hyundai's brand vision of 'Progress for Humanity', our lab has been trying to pioneer robotics through converging various technologies. Thanks to the success and recognition of VEX, Hyundai will continue developing novel products that will provide people with better life quality."

At 2.5kg, the VEX weighs 22 to 42% less than competing products and is worn like a backpack. The user places their arms through the shoulder straps of the vest, then fastens the chest and waist buckles. The back section can adjust in length by up to 18 cm to fit a variety of body sizes, while the degree of force assistance can be adjusted over six levels.

The compact design is achieved using the latest technology that eliminates the need for a battery. The VEX uses a polycentric axis - combining multiple pivot points with multi-link muscular assistance - to provide a maximum force of 5,5 kgf (kilogram-force), which is an astonishing achievement considering its low mass.

To put it in perspective, consider that 1 kilogram-force (a non-standard measurement that is not classified in the International System of Units) is equal to 9,81 Newton. One Newton is the force needed to accelerate 1 kg of mass at the rate of 1 metre per second squared in the direction of the applied force

The VEX is designed primarily for production-line workers who need to work with their hands above their heads, usually on the underside of vehicles on the assembly line. The VEX has already won the hearts of workers who have used it. Hyundai Motor Group ran pilot programs in its US plants, receiving positive feedback from the workers as it reduces fatigue in their arms and shoulders, while boosting productivity and safety.

In addition to the VEX, Hyundai Motor Group is working on another lightweight wearable robot, the Chairless Exoskeleton (CEX), which will enable workers to easily maintain a sitting position without a stool or chair.

The Hyundai Motor Group has also unveiled the Medical Exoskeleton, MEX, and, building on these wearable robots, Hyundai Motor Group plans to develop more products that will enhance productivity and work safety, and support rehabilitation of injured patients.

The Group is considering implementing the VEX in plants around the world. Hyundai Rotem will be in charge of the commercial production, expected to cost as much as 30% less than existing products.

  • The Hyundai Motor Group consists of the Hyundai Motor Company, Genesis and KIA Motors brands.