Power Assist Suit Demonstration Experiment at the 2017 Para Powerlifting Japan Cup - Helped Lighten the Load for Staff Handling Plates
Fukuoka, Japan - Panasonic Corporation and ATOUN Inc. (with headquarters in Nara City, Nara Prefecture; represented by Hiromichi Fujimoto) together conducted a demonstration experiment at the "2017 Para Powerlifting Japan Cup" held at Kitakyushu Performing Arts Center on July 16, 2017. In the experiment, staff who assisted in placing/removing the plates onto/from the bar wore a Power Assist Suit to demonstrate its ability to help lighten the load and to confirm the feasibility of using the suit at actual sports competitions.
Para Powerlifting is a bench press competition for athletes with impairment in the lower limbs. Men and women both complete in 10 different weight classes - men's ranging from 49kg to 107+kg and women's from 41kg to 86+kg. And adjustment of the plates on the bar in accordance to weight classes is carried out by the competition staff. Plates used in official competitions weigh from 10 to 50kg each. Because each athlete has 3 attempts, the staff may end up lifting the plates up off the ground, placing them on the bar, removing them and putting them back down again more than 120 times during the competition, if, for example, there are 40 participating athletes.
With that in mind, Panasonic and ATOUN focused on the potential of the Power Assist Suit in reducing the impact on the muscles and hips of the competition staff. This demonstration experiment was organized with the cooperation of the Japanese Para Powerlifting Federation.
The Power Assist Suit used in this particular demonstration experiment was the ATOUN MODEL A with modifications specifically for powerlifting. Transportation companies, distribution centers, and factories where there is frequent lifting of heavy objects are already using the ATOUN MODEL A.
"The Power Assist Suit lends power in a very natural way, so I was able to pick up the plates very easily without exerting extra force," explained a staff who wore the suit.
Powerlifting athlete, Eri Yamamoto-MacDonald, who witnessed the staff wearing the Power Assist Suit up close said, "As athletes, we are able to concentrate on powerlifting thanks to the support from the staff. Because the Power Assist Suit helps lighten the load, we have that much more security and peace of mind to concentrate on the sport."
Susumu Yoshida, Director of the Japanese Para Powerlifting Federation, commented, "In order to hold competitions in a safe and secure manner, we would definitely like to consider implementing the Power Assist Suit in the near future."
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