Exoskeletons Track


Track Chair: Chris Reid, The Boeing Company

Theme: Blending Worlds - The Evolving Ecosystem of Exoskeletons​

  • This year’s event continues on the iterative lessons learned since 2018 and how we can leverage our changing ecosystem for advancing human centered design exosystems that are safe and effective
  • Plan your 2024 strategy as you listen to the latest insights from industry, government, and academic experts on design, evaluation, implementation, use, and standards development
  • Engage and network with leaders from the exoskeleton community that includes exhibitors, producers, consumers, and researchers in the field during planned social networking events

Track Program

Monday, October 23, 2023

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM Human-Machine Interaction
Moderator: Bill Marras, Ohio State University
  Speakers: Carisa Harris (UC Berkeley), Liying Zheng (NIOSH), Ranjana Mehta (U.of Wisconsin-Madison)
11:30 AM - 11:40 AM Sponsored Presentations
Evolutionary Tools Inc.
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Exoskeleton Standards & the Future of Work
Moderator: Don Peterson, Northern Illinois University
  Speakers: Bill Billotte (ASTM), Matt Dickinson (UCLAN), Jack Lu (NIOSH)
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Exoskeletons and AI in the Future of Work
Moderator: Christopher Reid, The Boeing Company
  Speakers: Adam Quirk (Harvard Wyss Institute), Woody Dwyer (AMTrust)

Track Speakers


Presentation Title:  Research to Standards: An Update from the Exo Technology Center of Excellence"

Dr. William “Bill” Billotte is the Executive Director of the Exo Technology Center of Excellence and Director of Global Exo Technology Programs at ASTM International. Bill leads a dynamic team that pursues a vision of people of all ages free to pursue high-quality life and participate fully in work and society thanks to safe and reliable exo technologies. He is a member of Committee F48 on Exoskeletons and Exosuits, a board member for the Automotive Exoskeleton Group (AExG), and a life member of the National Eagle Scout Association. Prior to joining ASTM, Bill spent the past 20 years providing scientific and technical advice to federal agencies, first responders, and international organizations on topics including standards, exoskeletons, critical infrastructure protection, CBRNE detection, and first responder equipment. 

He has held scientific positions at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Navy, and Booz Allen Hamilton.  During his time with NIST, he served as a visiting scientist on the European Union’s critical infrastructure protection team at the Joint Research Centre in Italy, where he provided technical assistance to their working groups to help inform EU policies and international standards. 

Bill holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Dayton, a Master of Science in Engineering from Wright State University, and a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology. 

Matthew Dickinson, PhD, a senior lecturer in mechatronics engineering at the University of Central Lancashire, is a pivotal member of the MedTech Solutions group led by Professor Richards. With a Ph.D. in tribology, he has made significant contributions through research publications and conference presentations in this field. Dr. Dickinson's expertise in computer-aided design has led him to pivot towards smart assistive technologies, particularly exo-skeleton design, emphasizing the use of accessible materials for cost-effective maintenance.

His current research involves additive layer manufacturing and topological optimization to create high-performance components, mirroring the advantages of traditional metallic counterparts. While in its early stages, this work holds immense promise. Dr. Dickinson and his team are also exploring machine learning for signal catharizing, specifically in electromyography muscular responses.

Beyond his research, Dr. Dickinson actively participates in ASTM, where he serves as the subcommittee chair for F48.04, focusing on exoskeleton maintenance and disposal.

Woody Dwyer, MS, CPE, CIE is the Director of Loss Control with AmTrust Financial with more than 25 years experience. He has conducted numerous high impact presentations throughout the world on ergonomics and numerous risk management topics. Woody has written or been featured in many industry and trade publications discussing workers compensation, health and safety and ergonomics. Woody is a Certified Professional Ergonomist, CPE.

Presentation Title: A Normalization Approach to Optimizing Arm Support Exoskeletons for Varied Tasks

Carisa Harris, PhD, CPE is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.  She is the Director of the Northern California Center of Occupational & Environmental Health in the School of Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley, Associate Director of Research for the California Labor Lab, a NIOSH Total Worker health Center, and Director of the UCSF/UCB Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Lab.  She received her PhD in Environmental Health Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley and teaches a variety of classes including Occupational Biomechanics and Human Factors in Industrial Design. 

Dr. Harris and her team performs research in a variety of areas focused on understanding and preventing work related injuries and improving human performance, productivity, and health.  Her epidemiological research evaluates the relationship between physical, personal, and work psychosocial factors associated with musculoskeletal disorders and subsequent work disability. Her  team applies machine learning to wearable device data for primary and secondary prevention purposes and performs various intervention studies on occupational tasks with high risk of musculoskeletal injuries.  She and her team also engage in applied research for high injury sectors such as construction, medical, hotel, janitorial, warehousing and manufacturing sectors. 

Presentation Title: Challenges in Assessing Risks of Musculoskeletal Disorders in Workers Wearing Exoskeletons

Ming-Lun or Jack Lu, is a certified professional ergonomist and a researcher at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). He holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Hygiene with a concentration on ergonomics from the University of Cincinnati. He has 26 years of research experience in biomechanics and epidemiology for the prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. He is co-manager for the NIOSH Musculoskeletal Health Cross-sector Program and the co-chair for the National Occupational Research Agenda Musculoskeletal Health Council. His current research interests include wearable sensor or computer vision based ergonomic risk assessments, industrial exoskeletons, healthcare ergonomics, and interventions for airport baggage handling operations. He is the principal investigator for an on-going NIOSH research project aimed at assessing the long-term health effects of passive shoulder exoskeletons in the manufacturing setting.

Presentation Title: Mind-Motor Interactions of Exoskeleton Use using Neuroergonomics

Ranjana Mehta is a professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at University of Wisconsin Madison. Her research examines the mind-motor-machine nexus using a novel neuroergonomics approach to understand, monitor, and predict human performance under fatigue and stress. With these predictions, research in her lab focuses on developing closed-loop human augmentation technologies (sensory, neural, physiological) for safety-critical applications (emergency response, space exploration, and oil and gas).  Projects in her lab are funded by numerous agencies and industries and include user-centered and equitable design and evaluation of adaptive interfaces, wearable technologies, human-robotic interactions, and brain-computer interfaces to facilitate effective human-technology partnerships.

Presentation Title: From the Lab to the Field: Staged Evalution of an Active Back Soft Exosuit to Support Occupational Tasks.

Dr. Adam Quirk, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, at Harvard University. His research focuses on understanding whether differences in back muscle activation patterns can predict the likelihood of falls or the development of LBP attempting to find novel methods to prevent or reduce the severity of back injuries. Working with Dr. Cheryl Hubley-Kozey’s Neuromuscular Function Lab at Dalhousie University, Dr. Quirk received a PhD in Biomedical engineering researching how humans change the recruitment of trunk musculature in response to aging and low back pain (LBP). At the Harvard Biodesign Lab, working closely with his mentor Dr. Conor Walsh, and a team of clinical and engineering collaborators, he is exploring the potential of using wearable robotic technology to prevent disability associated with musculoskeletal injuries. Conducting secondary experimentation to determine factors that improve or dissuade the use of wearable robots.

Presentation Title: Shoulder-Assist Exoskeleton Effects on Balance and Muscle Activity during a Block-laying Task on a Simulated Mast Climbing Work Platform

Liying Zheng is a Senior Biomechanical Research Engineer at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Morgantown, WV. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Automation from the East China University of Science and Technology (Shanghai, China) and her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Washington State University (Pullman, WA). Her research interests revolve around biomechanics, musculoskeletal modeling, and advanced evaluation methods with the goal of improving occupational health and safety. She is an official voter for NIOSH at ASTM F48 Exoskeletons and Exosuits and serves on a steering committee at NIOSH Center for Occupational Robotics Research. Currently, she leads projects funded by the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) on ergonomic interventions in patient handling and contributes as a co-investigator in several exoskeleton-related projects within Construction and Wholesale and Retail Trade Sectors.