EC Orthopaedics

Editorial Volume 14 Issue 6 - 2023

Soft Robotic Gloves Offer Great Promise in Preventing Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders

Jeff Hiserman*

PT Founder and CEO Spectrum Ergonomics and Occupational Health Services, USA

*Corresponding Author: Jeff Hiserman, PT Founder and CEO Spectrum Ergonomics and Occupational Health Services, USA.
Received: June 15, 2023; Published: June 23, 2023


Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common workplace injury, with 327,650 occurring in the U.S. in 2019 according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety, and Health Administration (OSHA) [1]. The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor defines MSDs as musculoskeletal system and connective tissue diseases and disorders when the activity or exposure leading to the onset of symptoms is bodily movement (i.e. bending, reaching, twisting, crawling, climbing), overexertion, or repetitive motion. MSDs do not include disorders caused by incidents of slips, trips, falls, or similar mishaps. Examples of MSDs include, but are not limited to: sprains, strains, and tears, back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome [2]. MSDs carry a high price tag for employers. Included in this steep cost are tangibles such as absenteeism and lost productivity. Additionally, there are increased health care, disability, and workers’ compensation costs. This price tag is higher than the average nonfatal injury or illness [3].

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are conditions within the work environment and as a result of the performance of work in this environment, contribute significantly to the condition. This may also include a worsening or persistence of symptoms due to work conditions [4]. Types of work conditions that may lead to WMSDs include, but not exclusive of, repetitive lifting of heavy objects, exposure to whole body vibration daily, repetitive or prolonged overhead work, work with the neck in chronic forward flexed posture, or the performance of repetitive forceful tasks. It has been demonstrated that there is strong evidence for a significant correlation between work conditions and MSDs of the neck, back, and upper extremity [4].

  2. NIOSH workers health chartbook. NIOSH Publication No. 2004-146. Washington, D.C (2004).
  4. Bernard BP, editor. U.S. “Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease control and Prevention, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health”. Musculoskeletal disorders and workplace factors: a critical review of epidemiologic evidence for work-related musculoskeletal disorders of the neck, upper extremity, and lower back (1997): 97-141.
  5. Alicea R., et al. “A soft, synergy-based robotic glove for grasping assistance”. Wearable Technologies 2 (2021): e4.
  6. Loewen DP. “Design and Evaluation of Grasp Assistive Devices in an Industrial Environment, Master of Applied Science thesis in Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering”. University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (2019).
  7. Robo-Glove.
  8. Villoslada A., et al. “Hand Exo-Muscular System for assisting astronauts during Extravehicular Activities”. Preprint submitted to Soft Robotics (2018).
  9. RR Bishu and G Klute. “The effects of extra vehicular activity (EVA) gloves on human performance”. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 16 (1995) 165-174.
  10. M Mesloh., et al. “The effects of extravehicular activity (EVA) glove pressure on hand strength”. In: 3rd International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (2010).
  11. Patel V., et al. “Trends in Workplace Wearable Technologies and Connected-Worker Solutions for Next-Generation Occupational Safety, Health, and Productivity”. Advanced Intelligent Systems 4 (2022).
  12. BioServo Ironhand.
  13. Sierotowicz M., et al. “EMG-driven Machine Learning Control of a Soft Glove for Grasping Assistance and Rehabilitation”. Poster Presentation from Proceedings for Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Robotik Days (2021).
  14. Chiaradia D., et al. “An Assistive Soft Wrist Exosuit for Flexion Movements with an Ergonomic Reinforced Glove”, Front. Robot. AI, (2021).

Jeff Hiserman. “Soft Robotic Gloves Offer Great Promise in Preventing Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders”. EC Orthopaedics 14.6 (2023): 01-04.