Mizuno Power Assist Suit reduces physical strain and free working people from gravity
Many people working in the logistic and agricultural industry struggle with back pain. Lifting and moving heavy objects, especially from a position low to the ground, requires a massive exertion of force on the lumbar spine and pelvis, and can lead to injuries such as hernias, disk slippage and stress fractures. Mizuno developed the Power Assist Suit to reduce the daily physical strain on working people as part of its mission to create a vigorous POWERED LIFE world in which people enjoy lives of even greater activity.
With a slogan of “Delivering good performance to your life ,” the POWERED LIFE concept of Mizuno’s Life and Health Business is devoted to changing your life and world for the better. “Freeing people from gravity” was identified as one product development goal to support a diverse range of lifestyles, and this inspired the Mizuno Power Assist Suit, a solution to assist the body in physically straining tasks.
We first carefully reviewed the physical motions involved in lifting a heavy object, using musculoskeletal simulation software to visualize the strain put on the hips and spine. Research delved into the specific mechanics of this physical work.
Next, we ran simulations with the model wearing the Power Assist Suit and calculated the reduction in strain, this provided to identify the goal of achieving an approximately 15% reduction in strain. We then visited workplaces where power assist suits are already in use today and interviewed people to understand their challenges and needs. That revealed the three key challenges of “the suit is heavy,” “hard to move in,” and “expensive,” and the need for the suit in industries like agriculture and logistics in which it is difficult to replace individual workers with machinery.
Joint development with Toyoflex Corporation(Representative director Kenji Miyata/Asahi Intecc group), who is an expert in assist mechanism development, was the key to success in this project. They are deeply inspired by our POWERED LIFE vision. Mizuno’s expertise in understanding human-centered mechanisms and technology for goal-oriented product design synergized with Toyoflex Corporation’s expertise to create the lightweight and easy to move Mizuno Power Assist Suit.
The Mizuno Power Assist Suit is defined by its superb wearability. With a non-electric spring powered assist mechanism, the suit is light and slim – only weighing approximately 3.2 kilograms – and feels like a vest you slip over your shoulders. Design that focused on making the suit so easy to put on and use that you will want to wear it every day was essential to achieving the goal of superb everyday wearability.
Conventional products such as lower-back support belts, knee, wrist and upper-body supports , and functional inner-wear can also be considered products that support the body like the Mizuno Power Assist Suit . Mizuno will continue developing body assist products as it pursues its tireless challenge of bringing health and vigor to people through its peerless expertise in sports technology to reduce the physical strain on people working on the front lines everywhere.