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The ASTM international global standards organization has added a committee on exoskeletons and exosuits to their docket. The new committee, announced on Sept. 18 pending approval from the board of directors, will be made up of industry members, association leaders, and government representatives. People from these groups voted on Thursday at ASTM International’s global headquarters in Conshohocken, Pa., to approve the committee.

The committee on exoskeletons and exosuits will focus on five technical areas, each of which will consist of a subcommittee: design and manufacturing; human factors and ergonomics; task performance and environmental considerations; maintenance and disposal; and security and information technology.

“These products have gained significant attention for their potential benefits to consumer health, first responders, military, and general industry applications,” ASTM said in a press release.

The recommendation to approve the new committee as organized will go before the ASTM International board of directors in October in Houston. If the board votes to include the exoskeleton committee, it will hold its first official meeting either in-person or online in the following months.

Exoskeleton research is currently coming out of the medical and military fields. In July, DARPA Warrior Web Program Manager Maj. Christopher Orlowski said he “think[s] it will take at least another five to 10 years” for exosuits to be functional enough to be used by infantry. In June, researchers from several universities published research into the optimal level of assistance an exoskeleton can provide while a subject is walking.

ASTM International develops and integrates consensus standards for industries including aerospace, construction, automotive, and textiles.

Army evaluators work with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Warrior Web prototype exosuit at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in 2014. Image credit: Tom Faulkner, RDECOM
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