InsureTechGeek Episode 15: The Role of ExoSuits in Insurance with Matthew Marino from HeroWear
JAMES: On episode 15 of the InsureTechGeek Podcast, talking about the role of ExoSuits in insurance with Matthew Marino from HeroWear.
The InsureTechGeek Podcast, powered by JBKnowledge, is all about Technology that is transforming and disrupting the insurance world. We will be interviewing guests and be doing deep dives, in the specific technologies that we see changing the industry. We are taking you on a journey through insurance tech.
So, enjoy the ride, and geek out!
JAMES: Alright, happy Friday, happy Good Friday! I will tell you what, it is Good Friday. Rob Galbraith, how are you doing Rob?
ROB: Well, I am great James. How are you doing?
JAMES: Man, outstanding. It is a beautiful day in Texas. We had, what they would say in West-Texas was that downright turd-floater yesterday. That means it rained, it rained so much, it was insane this giant front that came through and it shook their house and rumbled for about a good hour. Thankfully, nothing got torn up, but it washed everything down. It is a beautiful day today, and I am excited about doing some Easter egg hunting coming up on Sunday with the old kiddos. We managed to get our hands on some white eggs and found some egg dye. It was a little harder than expected to find all that, so we could prep for Easter. You are getting already?
ROB: We are. My wife actually miraculously had everything we need it before. Everything kind of shut down and you are lucky you got those egg, right, because I hear eggs are going to be super rear as they are all try and make kind of virus vaccine out of them.
JAMES: Yeah, yeah it is wild eggs. We actually bought chickens, so I’ve got 4 chickens in a coop now, and we are counting on them to make some eggs, because I am a big fan of the egg, and the thought of having an egg shortage is a little bit much for me to deal with, so we are making our own now.
ROB: That is a good hedge. That is a good hedge
JAMES: It is, you know, I mean, all we got to do is get some chicken feet. I was like okay, now there are going to be a shortage on chicken feet. If I just have a supply chain problem, then I still have it supply chain problem . So, anyway it is a good day . We are excited to talk about technology, and to geek out. We have got Matthew Marino here, joining us from Portland. Matthew, how are you doing today?
MATTHEW: I am doing well guys, thank you for having me.
JAMES: Awesome man. We are excited to have you were excited to talk about ExoSuits and how they impact the insurance business. They have a pretty big impact actually, on risk management and safety and we are going to chat about that. Before we dive into what, here or where does, and before we deep dive on the technology, let us talk about you.
Your current job is director of economics and human factors at HeroWear, you’re aware, you are I believe one of the first employees hired there, day is that correct?
MATTHEW: That is correct, yeah
JAMES: Awesome. And you are a, needless to say, extremely involved in the product development. But before that, you had a very interesting career and I would just love do you know where were you born and raised, and what did you intend to go into as a field of study and how did you wind up at HeroWear?
MATTHEW: Yeah sure. I was born in Huntington. I grew up in Huntington Station on Long Island in New York. I went to school for physical therapy at Northeastern University in Boston. I intended to be a physical therapist for professional athletes or you know, something super exciting like that but, what I ended up doing was working with a lot of patients on the chronic pain side of physical therapy, treating patients that had gotten injured at work 25 years prior, and they were just trying to play around at golf, or they wanted to play with their grandkids without back pain.
I realized that there is just a huge population of people out there that were living with chronic pain and I wanted to do the best that I could to help them with that. I then got an opportunity to work on the other side of that problem and started to do injury prevention work. Ergonomics really. Ergonomics consulting with a company called PreCare at the time, now ProthoticsHealth and that was refreshing because, now a lot of these people hopefully might get injured at work, if we do the right things in the workplace to improve the physical demands of their jobs, and reduce the risks for injuries, maybe we don’t have to see them in the clinical physical therapies. So that’s when my career then took a sharp turn away from the sort of clinical side, treating patients, although I was still doing on site physical therapy when people had workers comp claims and they wanted to get treatment in the workplace, I basically bring the clinic to the workplace and do the treatment there but, really the focus became more on ergonomics and injury preventions so from there I guess fast forward a few years and my first kiddo was born, and he had cerebral palsy, and so I started to look into much to say future technology that might have an impact on his life and that is actually how I discovered Exoskeletons in the 1st place.
Devices that for him would help with things like walking. Some of the basic things that we all do every day. And at the time the technology was still pretty immature, but I kept my eye on it and then in 2015 with the ProthoticsHealth client we began to start looking at occupational ExoSkeletons. These devices that are intended to reduce the risk for entrorical workers and obviously my interest ExoSkeleton technology was there, really like a passion was there even before those types of devices came along, so as it was a natural fit an I started to do a lot of work with companies and workers that wanted to try these technologies at that time, and the volume of work in that space gradually increased every year, really stately I should say, and you know, here we are today now and I am the director of ergonomics and human factors with HeroWear and I’m really proud to be part of this company.
JAMES: What excited you about HeroWear versus, I mean, there is quite a few companies that make ExoSkeletons, let us just briefly differentiate it. ExoSkeletons can tend to be a little bulkier, looks like you are wearing a robot whereas an ExoSuit is generally soft and fabric, correct? That is, I believe what you said before the show?
MATTHEW: Yeah, yeah. An ExoSkeleton is really any wearable device that augments or assists physical activity through some kind of interaction with the humans body, and ridged devices you know, these more robotic mechanical systems would fall under that definition, but they said derivative term, ExoSuit and ExoSuits are basically ExoSkeletans that are made of almost entirely soft materials more akin to the clothing that we would be on a daily basis
JAMES: So, it would arguably be more comfortable to wear, potentially more lightweight and a little more compatible with outerwear and other type of protective clothing?
MATTHEW: Yeah, yeah that is absolutely correct. The soft systems definitely have some of those advantages and that is one of the things really that did attract me to HeroWare as a company because they were taking a completely different approach at the laboratory at Vanderbilt University where Karl Zelic and some of the students and some of the grad students there had been developing this technology for a number of years
JAMES: So, let us just briefly before we move on to the product. You have a child with CP. Have you been able to actually use some of the products that you have manufactured to help your kid out?
MATTHEW: The products that we manufacture at HeroWare or not designed for medical purposes or for treating kids like mine with cerebral palsy or a movement disability, no. So, our technology is really geared towards workers and the jobs and tasks that are performed in occupational settings . There are other types of ExoSkeletons out there, medical devices that are being developed. Now for kids like mine so, I am optimistic, very hopeful that that type of technology gets better and evolves to a point where my son will benefit from it sometime, hopefully soon, but certainly in his lifetime
JAMES: That’s awesome. Yeah, I, tend to be tech optimist just because I have seen medical innovations so radically improve people’s lives in so many areas, that I do I believe in, and I have some friends who have children with CP, and it’s been amazing. Just the different treatments that available that weren’t 20 years ago, the way it is approached, the therapies and there is so much to that and I don’t want to deep dive into personal business, but I am just fascinated when people have a personal issue they turn into a life calling and a passion and then into a business right and that is really neat that you focus that energy and that interest into, and into protecting workers right, because at the end of the day workers generally, and I have got a lot of work in the insurance business as it relates to the risk management.
It is hard to get through to construction workers about doing additional steps. Wearing additional things. It was get hard getting them to wear just eye protection , head projection, reflective gear. Right I mean, it’s a challenge, they view it as a hindrance and so it’s really important because what we’ve seen in many industrial settings and particular in construction and manufacturing is that when workers hit their forties their bodies just start to breakdown. And they can’t do nearly as much as they could, and they have restricted chance of motion and there is all kind of work-related injuries that come up, and that is really what this is, at least for me what it is about. I would love to hear what you all’s ultimate met end game is about with your workers that you are helping out
MATTHEW: Yeah, that is a really good point, and I think that sometimes people do not realize that the technology, especially a new technology can help them, until it is too big. Until they are the person with a chronic back pain, that is needing to go to the physical therapy clinic for treatment . And then something that we ideally would like to change, and I think that a lot of that is going to have to come through education and awesome podcasts like this, that hopefully people will listen to and getting the right, let us call them collaborators. The insurance industry, the government, academia, the end user companies, the ExoSkeleton produces, get everybody together to try help to solve these problems. The end game really for me, and I think for HeroWear too is, to get access to these types of technologies to people, workers who do physical demanding word every day. And try to help them reduce their risk for injury and hopefully prevent injury so that they can go home, do the things that they love to do, and have more energy at the end of the day, right? I mean these are the things that are really important to people and some, you know, they need to be able to go to work, they need to be able to continue provide for their family but they also need to live a happy high-quality life, and that is what we are trying to achieve but producing technology like ours
JAMES: Awesome. And Rob I think I may have hedged into your question. I am sorry, but I would love for you to follow up
ROB: Sure, it is really great stuff Matt. Thanks for sharing. I was wondering maybe you can just go into a little bit more details specifically about HeroWare and these ExoSuits, and then I am also interested, what is your approach as far as it goes to market? Are you trying to work with employers, are you trying to you know, kind of make this awareness to workers, maybe unions or others? Are you looking to work with insurance carriers, and they lost control departments? I would love to know more just about the product and then how you are getting the word out.
MATTHEW: Yeah sure. The origin of the company really began at Vanderbilt University with some work that Karl Zelic and his students were doing in their laboratory and their engineering programs there. And you know, it may be funny to say this but I think Karl blames his children because when his kids were little he was having to bend down and pick them up and started to experience more back pain that he had before in his life. And I think that may be one of the reasons that the whole idea for the back assist ExoSuit that they worked on, that’s how that really came to be, but then they started to talk to folks in the industry, start talk to workers, started to understand user needs, and they really saw that there was a great need for designing technology that could help to reduce the risk for back of back injuries.
Back injuries are going to impact , you know, back pain I should say is going to impact 80% of people at some time at some point in their lives so you know, and I’m sure between the few of us that are talking today, at least one of two of us have had back pain . I certainly have myself so, this would definitely be a problem then I would be interested in solving too. Originally the device that they were working on at Vanderbilt had batteries and motors and they were powered systems. More like some of those like, devices that you’d classically think of being an ExoSkeleton you know, like an Ironman type of suit but what they started to hear from customers and what I’ve heard in my experience with the technology as well is that, the simpler the better. In a lot of the cases don’t want to be bothered with having to charge batteries and with the complexity and the weight of powered systems and motors and actuators and things like that so ultimately they shifted course and went down the path of designing a fully passive system meaning that there is no batteries, no motors, no reason to have to plug it in and charge it up at the end of the day.
Something super simple that you know, really a lot like the clothing that people wear already so we get into that space where it’s more normal for people than having to wear a machine around and that was some of the vision. The other big thing too with the origin of the product was to design something that really first and foremost get out of people’s way, because when you look at ExoSkeletons, we all expect them to assist people. And they certainly do. And ExoSkeleton Company and all of the companies are great at designing technology that can assist people . When you look at how often, or the percentage of time of a work shift wait somebody actually need that assistance, it’s more like 10% of the day, and they are doing other stuff for more like 90% of the day. So really, we need to be designing technology that can get out of people’s ways most of the time but provide them assistance on call when they need it. And that is the approach that they really started to take with the technology and I think that is one of the big differentiators for our technology and then as far as like getting back to your question about how are we trying to get the word out, and who are we trying to work with, we of course want to work with companies and their workers , these are the users of the technology . We are also very interested in collaborating and working with the insurance industry as well because I think the insurance industry is in a really unique position to transform access to this type of technology. They really are such important stakeholders that if there is anything that we can do to partner and collaborate with insurance companies and the industry as a whole, we are totally open for that and we look forward to that in fact. I wrote an article for the Risk and Insurance Insider publication recently that folks can look up. Those are definitely ways that we are trying to get the word out and trying to work with the industry and to our end users.
JAMES: We have a true, I mean they are is stakeholders in a very true sense of the word. They actually have a stake and the outcome financially, and there is going to be claims that result of this. If the worker is injured as a result. The interesting thing about these types of you know repetitive motion, and I have had a few unfortunate major injuries, ankles, back ache, I have fractured the bottom of my spine and you know all kinds of stuff you know, not work related, mine was all exercise related but I broke the bottom 4th vertebra of my spine and had it removed so how about that. I am not spineless. I am less spine. It is a challenge.
I have had to deal was injury and recovery now as I remember now it was a very good – I split my time between Texas and Michigan and I was with a physical therapist that I saw in Michigan, and he said you know when load exceeds capacity, you have injury. And no one had ever just laid that out that simple for me and we watched a video that he had on the Internet that he had about load & capacity and he said we need to reduce you’re load and increase your capacity and we got to get it back in balance . Your load exceeded your capacity and that is that simple statement what you are doing with workers is increasing with Exosuits/Exoskeletons, I think. Increasing capacity or also reducing loud . You are doing both at the same time because you know it depends on the ExoSuit right?
Some will actually allow you to lift more, some age you in the existing left but they reduce the load and the stress on your frame, which can really manifest itself is over a period of years, right, sometimes it does not like an instant injury. It is like a prolonged injury on a worker which can leave them injured for a long amount of time as well. It can be very difficult to come back from. At least that is what we have seen in all of our work comp data right?
MATTHEW: It can happen both ways. You can have that acute injury just caused by, you know, putting a tremendous load or force on the body. Or you can have what people will commonly refer to as cumulative trauma. And that is really just a matter of repetition after repetition of a load that is doable, by worker, but it is causing trauma, microtrauma. And that can add up over time and you will see a lot of work in this space from researchers and groups like Urban University and Sean Gallagher, Doctor Sean Gallagher, and Doctor Mark Shaw. They are there with their fatigue failure theory and it is , it is not far off from how any mechanical system operates. If you put enough cycles of stress on tissues, in the case of a human, and you do not have enough recovery time in between, and eventually the tissues can fail. And that is absolutely what your therapist is trying to get across to you and it sounds like they did.
JAMES: Oh yeah, it worked. I finally got better. It took a while, but I finally got better. There is nothing better than recovering. I can tell you that because you know what to be thankful for. Let us talk about unique value propositions. Because I have had, I have two podcasts. This and the construction tech podcast and I have had multiple ExoSkeleton providers on. We have talked to guys from ExoBionics, we have talked to folks from a few different companies . What makes this really unique . Like what sets this apart from any other solution on the marketplace that has a powered or non-powered ExoSuit or ExoSkeleton, right? What really makes this special?
MATTHEW: Yeah, that is a great question. So, I think it goes back to the philosophy that I was talking about before. First and foremost, not getting in people’s way, and then providing assistance when workers need it. Our product is called the Apex ExoSuit and it is a lightweight, soft clothing like ExoSuit that is designed to offload the back . And hopefully reduce that strain of fatigue and reduce the risk for injuries. And we know that back injuries are the number one work related musculoskeletal disorder. The other big thing about the Apex is that it is modular, so it can fit almost everybody. Our device is passive which means that there is no motors or batteries or sensors that keeps things really simple. So, this is definitely an advantage and something that a lot of customers out there are really interested in.
Just that whole concept of keeping it simple. And our device allows people to move without restrictions and this is a really big thing for me. From the very beginning of my time testing ExoSkeleton systems I’ve been highly focused on what can I do with it, but what can I not do with it and I have developed a 80 point movement, you know battery or movement test with these systems & time and time again I have tested ExoSkeletons with this movement system and I can do some movements but I cannot do more movements than you’d expect from something that is supposed to be a wearable device that is supposed to not get into people’s way. So, I think it is really important to keep this piece in mind because workers are really sensitive about restraining them.
About getting in their way. If you put something on them that they, say then want to reach behind their back and scratch an itch but they can’t because their arm won’t rotate that way, that is going to be a problem for them. Or if you put something on them that you know, they can’t pivot and move their body a certain way or sidestep, that is going to be a problem for them because that is what they are used to doing every day. So now you are asking them to basically change the way they live their life and that is going to be unacceptable for a lot of people . So, we have really tried to take that approach of not getting in people’s way, being able to fit everybody and they get more like clothing really, more that people are very comfortable and use to wearing on a daily basis .
We from the very beginning had females in mind, because woman make up greater than 50% of the industrial workforce. And a lot of the other ExoSkeletons on the market are unisex and they are great devices but I have been out there time and time again working with females, and they’ve asked me things like hey, don’t they make a version of this for women or things like, how am I supposed to wear this and that was something that from the beginning HeroWare took a different approach. So we have a male specific device and the female specific design so that we can fit both genders with equal comfort, and we have an on off switch so, not only are we the first company that designed devices for females but we are the first company to design a device, a soft ExoSkeleton that is Quadro passive as we would say. It allows workers to turn on and off the assistance so that they don’t get resistance when they don’t want it, and they can move freely but then when they get to a job or task where they want to support from the device, they can flip a switch and bingo, they’d have the assistance so there is a number of things that I think HeroWare has done really well that differentiate from the rest of the pack of assist devices that is available on the market right now
JAMES: Awesome. Rob?
ROB: Yeah Matt. I am really glad that you mentioned the part about customizing for females, right, I think that shows that in between what you always hear in innovation about a minimal viable product, right? Just get it out there you know, and then start with that and build from that. And so, for you guys to take that step and not just strictly go unisex, I think is terrific and definitely makes sense as a competitive advantage. The thing I wanted to ask you about is kind of on that order . There is a big difference between an invention and a product . I see a lot of companies out there would have a great idea right, a great solution , they correctly identified a problem, they have a good idea for what a solution is, but it doesn’t actually succeed, because they haven’t provided some of the support and help and assistance for people to even use it right, so it’s really just that. It is an invention but not a full product, I know if you guys have the HeroCare 360 support . And other so, maybe you can just talk about, not just the product itself that you’ve done a bit and linked here, yeah but what are some of those things that you’ve done to make it successful in terms of being adopted in the marketplace?
MATTHEW: Yeah, that is a really good point. You know, we can design right technology. But if there is reason for them to just sit in a corner and collect dust, then they are not going to help anybody and I think one of the big ways that ExoSkeleton producers and folks like us at HeroWare can really help our customers adopt the technology, is to support every single ExoSuit that we sell. And we have developed a program called HeroCare 360 that does just that.
So, we are offering to support our clients with anything really that they needs in regard to obtaining user acceptance and helping to drive adoption. And this includes things like multiple levels of training and support, working with their folks both at the executive level as well as at the ground level at the location. We would like to train not only their users of the technology, but super users who can really take ownership of ExoSkeleton programs and integrate them into their comprehensive ergonomic program. So, a lot of companies already have an ergonomics program of some kind, where they go out and identify risk, and do they job analysis and they try to do engineering projects to reduce the level of risks and exposure for workers. And I know that the insurance industry is involved and very interested in doing this kind of stuff, so we want to help train those super users.
Those champions as we may call them that, can really take ownership of now not only using the technology themselves, but helping those around them that are going to be using the technology too. So, that is a big part of the training. Those users, those superusers, the managers, any other support staff that is involved in what we would call the workplace ExoSystem, everybody that has to support it is really appropriate to train. And we have training for all of those people. The other things that we already thinking about for helping clients adopt these systems are systems for storing the devices, for cleaning, disinfecting and contaminating the devices, Especially this day and age now with what has been going on lately with the COVID-19, the Corona Virus, and really just helping to drive the sustainment of the technology by helping our customers every step of the way. And delivering like a really good positive customer experience throughout the entire life cycle of the product.
ROB: Yeah, I love hearing that Matt. I actually teach an MBA class, on innovation in the insurance industry, and, in the evenings, and actually I was talking to my class this past week about building those internal champions, right? If you are a Start-Up, or a company bringing new technology, and trying to get adoption from insurance companies , you know, you’ve got to find this couple of true believers within and then start talking about the ideal characteristics of what makes an effective champion to help you get adoption. So, I love that you referenced that. You get an A+ from me
MATTHEW: Yeah, that is so true and I would like to say that with champions as far as getting technology into their hands and driving adoption , we are really charged with trying to help them win right, because their win becomes our win as technology producers and if we don’t set them up to win, then really we are just setting them up to fail, and that is not going to help anybody
JAMES: Yeah, now it really will not. Good comments there. Let us talk about the product by the numbers, because we have not mentioned kind of what this really does, from a data perspective. It weighs 3.4 pounds, it can take over 50 pounds of strain of the back, and so it’s a, this is mainly for a ground up or a waste up lift, that is where your significantly changing things is on lifting operations?
MATTHEW: Yeah, that is correct. For lifting that people in ergonomics or safety profession might say is below knuckle height, so if you are standing with your hands by your sides, it is to lift below the level of your hands. That is where this device is very useful for you. But not only lifting . People in a lot of cases have to do work that is just close to the ground, in some cases it is underground, like in the utility industry, with underground meters and things like that, so any job where workers are bending , leaning or lifting, our Apex ExoSuit is an appropriate potential solution for that. If there is no other potential solution that could be useful for the job or task.
JAMES: Hey, I mean today I was reading an article about a powered ExoSkeleton that was designed for workers that are raking asphalt. Because it’s such an labor intensive intense process to push and rake asphalt on the ground that it actually connects down to the boot and has a rod that runs up and then helps a powered unit that helps push and pull the rake with their command that helps take the load off of them as well because it connects all the way down to the ground . So, it’s kind of the opposite of an ExoSuit right, it’s large and it’s big and it’s powered but it’s also delivering an industrial scale output and then you know, you look at it like the RoboGlove that NASA and GM developed that was a power powered power glove.
I mean it looked super cool. It looks like it should be on Tony Stark. It delivered a very specific job. So I feel like in science fiction, you know I’m a star track nut, we kind of look like at the odd ones like Commander Data for artificial intelligence, like we look at AI as general AI, and didn’t really think through the fact that like 99% of AI would actually be specific forms of AI like image recognition, voice recognition and eventually it all amalgamated together into a general AI. And I feel like ExoSkeletons are on the same path. Like we are going to have like 1000 different ExoSkeletons for 1000 different used cases. And you know depending on what you need . On that note, what is next? I mean are you going to add another build on module to hold for workers have to work overhead? That is a major problem, it is overhead operations. Is that going to be on the list? What is the next big thing for you all?
MATTHEW: That is a really good question. There are already a lot of shoulder assist ExoSkeletons on the market. Big early adopters of those types of devices include the automotive industry, and the aerospace industry where people are doing a lot of overhead work. So I’m not sure that that is going to be the next big thing because I feel that there is already a lot of options out there to choose from, but for us really the next big thing is to get our Apex device on a lot of people. And really start to listen to them, and learn from them, to see what it is exactly that we need to do next. You know, I think that to say you know this is the direction that we’re going to go right now is just a little bit too soon for us, because this product just got launched last week so now it’s really a matter of making sure that it’s awesome, getting feedback from real users on it, iterating on it a little bit if we need to, making it even better and then watching it take off. And then from there, you know, I know we have other ideas of things that we are going to work on, but I am not really at liberty to share what exactly what that is just yet
JAMES: Ah, no product releases today? Robert, I try to sneak one out of him but…
MATTHEW: No releases today!
ROB: Try, try to get the special scoop
JAMES: Got to get the scoop buddy! That is what it is all about
ROB: Exclusive to Insure Tech Geek Podcast , exclusive.
JAMES: Yeah, so Rob I would love for you to take it from here
ROB: Yeah no, um so just kind of wrap it up. We really appreciate your time today and you have been a great guest. One of the things I’ve been hearing a lot in the marketplace is there is a lot of hardware, excuse me hardware vendors out there, a lot of excitement about wearables, but more and more I’m seeing this push kind of everyone saying I’m going to do it all with mobile phones, right? I can capture a lot of the same information, same data, I can look at like bending, twisting, straining, type information simply from the accelerometer and other technology and software in your phone. And every one has got their phone on them right, so you just download apps and kind of capture the stuff in real time, whatever and especially because we you are talking about, I don’t know, about the manufacturing for your ExoSuits but you know, global supply chains, you mentioned the COVID 19 Coronavirus or whatever.
So maybe you can just give us your thoughts on something that is producing like hardware or physical product like rather than from a software, an app. Do you think there is a place in the market for this hardware devices? How would you kind of distinguish that from maybe some of the software vendors out there, and how do you see that kind of projecting out in the future? Will they always be a place in the market for physical devices such as yours?
MATTHEW: Yeah, that is a great question. There really is just an explosion of different types of technology out there and there is so many smart people doing awesome work which is great. I definitely want to see that continue. As far as like centers and software systems, I have a good amount of experience working with those, and what I found is that they are great, and we can get a lot of good information from center and software systems. We can answer questions and unlock secrets that we were never really able to before, but in a lot of cases these are just tools to help us learn. They are not actual solutions to problems. So, I do see there being a need ongoing for hardware that is an actual solution to a problem. Like I can put a sensor on somebody that tells me that they bend all day long. I can also just go out into the workplace and watch them doing ergonomic assessments and basically coming to the same conclusion, but I am still left with a question at the end of the day, how do I solve that problem?
How do I help that person avoid having a back injury? And it is solutions like the HeroWare Apex that can help to do that. When there is no other solution, when you can’t put in a vacuum with the system, or you can’t use a forklift or the situation is just not such that there’s any other ergonomic solution or control for a problem, there’s definitely going to be a place for ExoSkeleton and ExoSuit technologies to help solve those types of problems and that’s what we are really looking to today. Because if you look across so many different industries, there are a ton of jobs that even if you can automate them, or get robots to do it, it’s so expensive to do or, it’s not going to happen for 5 or 10 years, so what are the workers who do that kind of stuff today supposed to do to extend their careers, to be able to keep on doing that job. To prevent them from going home at the end of the day, beat up and tired and that’s where hardware and solutions like ExoSkeletons and ExoSuits and HeroWare can really play a role and that is our hope
JAMES: Man, what a great question! What a succinct powerful answer, right? That you can diagnose the problem or fix the problem. That is what I am hearing from you. I was thinking about my, I am a Texas guy, right? I have a truck. I have a big Chevy. And I remember when my, when my first Silverado – it had collision warning. And so the sensors with beep and fire a little vibrator in my seat that would shake the seat if I was going to hit the, the second Silverado I got, actually automatically braked the truck, and that is the difference. One of the one of these things you know just tells may something is going on and diagnose diagnosis it, the other thing actually intervenes. And I got to tell you, the intervention saved my bacon twice when I was trying to merge in and the person in front of me slammed the brakes on and I was looking back to see if it was safe to merge. I would have plowed into the back of them. Both times. And I was at safe spacing right, but I slammed their brakes on. You guys, you have been in a situation when you are driving and that auto breaking systems intervened and stopped the truck and it did not hit him.
There is no accident, and I go, that is the most useful piece of technology I have ever put on my truck, you know and to think of about it in the same light is really powerful, you know, that the pipe dreams and the science fiction dreams that I and every other Star Trek and science fiction fan half about the world continue to evolve and change are wonderful. You know and robots retiring rebar. I interviewed the guy that invented Thybot. It ties rebar. It is a $800,000 robot that goes onto rails. The rails that they put in when building a bridge and it literally uses computer vision and automatically ties all the rebar because tying rebar is a backbreaking job but that’s going to take a decade to really get out and into business and in between now and then we still have to both bridges and so, these are the people that literally bent over all day long, tying rebar. Need help now. Right, and I think that is a really good takeaway for our insurance listeners too is if you want to get your claim counts down now, it is a different set of tools then getting claim counts down later. There are specific hardware & tools that you can implement ASAP that will have an immediate instant impact and then there’s analytics and AI and whole bunch of other things that will help you over the next 2, 5, 10 years. And so, it is a good kind of takeaway for the insurance data geeks out there. I think we tend to think so long them that we forget about some of the immediate solutions that we can get into place. At least that is my thoughts. Rob, I know you are at a carrier, a work comp career and you have to deal with this all the time.
ROB: Yeah, yeah, I am just thinking, obviously really tough economic times, for folks out there and the explosion of the unemployment rate of the last three weeks – really tragic to see . Obviously will get back to normal. Whatever the new normal looks like at some point. But you know definitely, we keep on hearing about all those kinds of heroes on the front lines. People we have not thought of that is been heroes in the past, folks are restocking grocery stores right . That Amazon warehouse worker and what not so I think there is going to be even more demand for those types of jobs in the future and so this type of technology can absolutely help those type of folks. So shout out to all those that are keeping us supplied during this difficult time and yeah, I think you are aware, not that you planned it, your launch or anything, they go inside but it feels like an excellent time and it’s been great having you on.
MATTHEW: Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.
JAMES: Awesome! Well thank you both for being on the show today. A really great substantial discussion around ExoSuits/ExoSkeletons technology innovation. For our listen us out there remember, stay positive, this will have an end like all things. We do not know when it. It is and it’s best not to fixate on a date because it’s a good way to disappoint yourself but to fixate on the hope and the reality that what we are all going through together as a planet all 17 plus billion people on this spinning rock is going to have an end, and we will move on. And also, an important lesson that worker safety is a real issue right now.
There are actions that can be taken right now. It is and not even in the middle of crisis especially because of the crisis, there is a huge shift to distribution, transportation and factory workers that need this now. It is real, it is present, and it is current and there are many things that should not wait until a future date. Because it is a real issue. So please remember stay positive. Remember there is an end date to this, and we have to keep projecting workers. Our lives, health, and safety, regardless of the circumstances that surrounds us.
So thank you all for listening in today and again thank you to Matthew and Rob for being on the show today and with that “The InsureTechGeek Podcast” powered by JBKnowledge is all about Technology that’s transforming and disrupting the Insurance world.
I have been your host James Benham with my prestigious Co-Host, Rob Galbraith, theendofensurance.com. Thanks to Jim Greenlee our Podcast Producer, Kara Dalton, our Creative Producer, and thank you for joining us today.