Newly Archived Webinar Recordings Highlighting How Emerging Technologies Can Prevent Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders

Posted on by Jack Lu, Jessica Ramsey, Brent Baker, and Menekse Barim
Photo © Getty Images


NIOSH recently posted seven webinars to YouTube highlighting the use of emerging technologies to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). Although the webinars are from 2018-2021, the content is still informative and relevant and receiving praise from those in the industry. The series of webinars focuses on using emerging technologies as interventions or for conducting risk assessments. Topics include wearable sensors, exoskeletons, and computer vision. NIOSH curated the webinars based on increasing interest from safety and health professionals and partners in learning about using emerging technologies for preventing WMSDs. The recordings are archived on the NIOSH Musculoskeletal Health (MUS) Program webinar page, and briefly described in reverse chronological order below.


1-Emerging Technologies to Enhance Safety at Toyota Motor North America

Speaker: Marisol Barrero, MS, CPE, Toyota Motor North America

Toyota Motor North America is invested in exploring emerging technologies to enhance safety and health, particularly to reduce MSDs. This presentation shares key highlights of new trials and implementations of exoskeletons, wearable sensors, computer vision and virtual reality.

2-Lightweight & Nonrestrictive Exosuits for Clinic Community & Workplace

Speaker: Conor Walsh, PhD, Professor, Harvard Wyss Institute,

The presentation highlights the use of innovative textiles for soft exoskeleton suits to augment or retore human performance. The research  was conducted by a multidisciplinary team of students and research staff with backgrounds in engineering, materials science, apparel design, industrial design, biomechanics, and physical therapy, in addition to valuable collaborations with colleagues from Harvard, Boston University, and beyond.

3-ASTM Exo Technology Center of Excellence

Speaker: Bill Billotte, PhD, Director, Exo Technology Center of Excellence, ASTM International
The presentation provides an overview of the ASTM Exo Technology Center of Excellence (ET CoE) and its  activities to accelerate research to standards. The ET CoE is engaging in four main areas: research to standards, education and workforce development and training, standards, and certification.

4-Ergonomic Needs and Barriers for Exoskeleton Implementation in the OR

Speakers: Dimitrios Stefanidis, MD, Indiana University School of Medicine and Denny Yu, PhD, Assistant Professor, Purdue University

Though the ergonomic risks in surgery are well-recognized, the mitigation of these risk factors is especially difficult in surgery due to the demanding work and restrictive work environment (e.g., sterility) that must prioritize patient safety. This webinar presents ergonomic issues in the operating room and the evaluation of facilitators and barriers to exoskeleton technology for surgical team members.

5-Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly-Incremental ROI-Boeing Industrial Exoskeletons

Speaker: Christopher Reid, PhD
Boeing has been evaluating the efficacy of industrial exoskeleton technology since 2012 for its factory workers in production and maintenance. The presentation shares their endeavors in proving to leadership and end users that this potential worker enhancement technology was worth the Return on Investment (ROI).

6-Communicating the Value of Ergonomics to Business Stakeholders

Speaker: Blake McGowan, MS, CPE, VelocityEHS
The presentation shares tips on how to communicate the value of an ergonomics process to different business stakeholders and to generate support from top management for your ergonomics efforts.

7-Smartphone-based Ergonomic Risk Assessment

Speaker: SangHyun Lee, PhD, Professor, University of Michigan

Current field ergonomic risk assessments are based on observational methods.  These methods are time-consuming, labor intensive and error prone because they often require subjective judgements for interpreting risk factors. Dr. Lee demonstrated a possibility of measuring postural risks for manual lifting tasks using a computer vison enabled smartphone. His presentation won the Thomas Waters Award for the best manual material handling presentation at the 2018 Applied Ergonomics Conference.


Do you use exoskeletons or other emerging technologies in your workplace? Please share your experiences in the comment section below.


Acknowledgements: The NIOSH Musculoskeletal Health Program would like to thank the NIOSH Center for Occupational Robotics Research and the NIOSH Center for Direct Reading and Sensor Technologies for co-hosting some of the webinars. Special thanks to Marie Hayden and the NIOSH web team for assisting with the editing and captioning of the webinar recordings. 


Jack Lu, PhD, CPE, is a research ergonomist in the NIOSH Division of Field Studies and Engineering and co-manager of the NIOSH Musculoskeletal Health Cross-Sector Program.

Jessica Ramsey, MS, CPE, is an industrial hygienist and ergonomist in the NIOSH Division of Field Studies and Engineering.

Brent Baker, PhD, is a research biologist and team leader in the NIOSH Health Effects Laboratory Division.

Menekse Barim, PhD, AEP, is a service fellow in the NIOSH Division of Field Studies and Engineering.



Posted on by Jack Lu, Jessica Ramsey, Brent Baker, and Menekse Barim

One comment on “Newly Archived Webinar Recordings Highlighting How Emerging Technologies Can Prevent Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    While not directly addressing exoskeleton technology, understanding how to communicate the Return on Investment (ROI) value for any ergonomic aid is critical to the success of both its initial acquisition and final implementation.

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Page last reviewed: May 5, 2022
Page last updated: May 5, 2022