The Exovest is an exoskeletal support harness designed around ergonomic principles, and represents a radical departure from traditional harness technology. The weight and torque resulting from supporting the load in front of the body are transferred into the operator in anatomically-appropriate ways, closely reflecting how the body itself deals with these forces. Weight is delivered into the pelvis, and the torque is delivered into the shoulder-blade region of the trapezius muscles of the back. The exoskeletal design ensures that the harness touches the operator's body only where appropriate for load carrying, crucially avoiding constricting the ribcage and abdominal regions.
Four integral pivots aligned in two axes, those of the pelvic and shoulder girdles, allow the harness to conform to natural body movements. The rise and fall of the hips as weight is shifted from one leg to the other is accommodated by a lower pivot system, while the upper pivot system allows for free movement of the shoulders as the operator composes the frame. This results in less muscular strain, and better overall stability and balance; and in stark contrast to traditional harnesses, allows the operator to walk, move, and breathe normally without affecting the trim of the supported system. Additionally, the Exovest is the only support harness expressly designed to comfortably fit both male and female operators.
Following six months of rigorous ergonomic testing at the Human Factors Engineering and Economics department of Virginia Tech, the Exovest has been selected as the only support harness of its kind suitable for industrial applications, and is currently used for tool support in aircraft construction at Boeing, and shipbuilding at US Navy shipyards.
...a 777 Wing Body Join mechanic using a drill motor with a countersink cage tool supported by the zeroG arm attached to an Exovest. The Exovest is a newly designed camera vest made by Steadicam. The zeroG arm is a completely mechanical system and can be tuned to apply upward force on the end effector. The 777 Wing Body Join job entails countersinking well over 1000 holes in the leading edge composite close-out panels. The work is performed overhead and is very stressful on the shoulder due to the upward forces required. There have been four shoulder injuries attributed to this job in the past year. Most of those required surgery. In addition to the health and safety benefits, there are productivity and quality gains as well. The job was performed in half of the normal time and since there is uniform upward force on the drill motor, the defect rates are predicted to be lower. This project is currently in 'shop trials' within BR&T.John Amell, Boeing Research and Technology, Lead Ergonomist, Associate Technical Fellow
I continue to wear a Cheshire-Cat grin due to using the Exovest. It works without fuss. Its efficiency is exponentially apparent in its performance, and its simplicity in design is the guise of its genius. Great stuff.John 'Buzz' Moyer, Steadicam operator
I got the Exovest on Friday evening, and on Saturday I tested it in Rome on The Vatican project with director Ridley Scott. It was the hottest day of the year with temperatures around 40°C, and the whole day was nothing but Steadicam. I had it on for five continues hours before I could take a break in the morning, and for four more hours in the afternoon. I LOVE IT! In 24 years of Steadicam I've had five different vests: Model II, EFP, Master Series, Daniel Sauvé. Yet it took me no time at all to get used to the Exovest. It's so light, and it allows you to breathe deeply during the shot. I think in a few years everybody will be wearing only the Exovest. Every time I take mine off, I kiss it. BRAVO!Alex Brambilla, Steadicam operator
Following a back injury that ended my career, the Exovest has allowed me to return to Steadicam operating. The vest has removed all the traditional pressure points along my lower spine, and instead distributes the weight in the most logical way possible—along the pelvic bones. I can once again operate for hours at a time with zero discomfort. It is, in point of fact, a life changer for me.Peter Abraham, Steadicam operator
It's an utter no brainer. It's one of the biggest leaps in technology from an operator's point of view.David Crute, Steadicam operator
The Exovest is wonderful, I'm falling in love–thanks!Eric Catelan, Steadicam operator
Thank you, Chris! You make my life and work easier. I think about you each time I put on the Exovest and continue breathing.Anatoly Ivanov, Steadicam operator
The Exovest has made a huge difference in my operating, and I've noticed a definite increase in my own endurance because it's more comfortable to operate. This weekend I did a short that was a ten-minute oner and I probably wouldn't have been able to do it in a normal vest. Resisting the torque up higher on my back was a lifesaver in those spots because I didn't tire as quickly, and was able to do multiple takes in a row. Thank you so much for inventing it!Lisa Sene, Steadicam operator
To say the Exovest has changed my work life would be an understatement...I can’t imagine working with any other vest.Rob Carter, Steadicam operator