CURRENT (AND PREVIOUS) FUNCTION: Renée Govaerts is a PhD student at the research group Human Physiology and Sports Physiotherapy. In 2019 she graduated as Master in Rehabilitation sciences and Physiotherapy, specialized in Musculoskeletal Conditions at the University of Antwerp.
RESEARCH AREA: Renée's research focuses on the human response during human-robot interaction in an industrial setting. Exoskeletons, exosuits and cobots are examples of robot applications used in industry with the aim to support the employee in physical tasks and to optimize production. Evaluating and analyzing different physiological and biomechanical parameters of employees during cooperation with a robot provides crucial information about the efficiency of this robot and is necessary for its further improvement process. In the ICT-H2020 project SOPHIA (https://project-sophia.eu/), Renée will be part of a multidisciplinary development and evaluation team where she will research the influence of robotics on the industrial worker in terms of physiological and biomechanical data collection.
CURRENT RESEARCH QUESTIONS: Can robotic devices like exoskeletons, exosuits and collaborative robots reduce physical and cognitive load of the industrial worker?
PRACTICAL APPLICABILITY: The implementation of robotics in industrial settings will continue to increase strongly in the future, partly because the application areas are still expanding. Therefore, it is important to select the right robotic application according to the needs of the industrial employee while considering the specific workplace. Using the relevant robotics will reduce the cognitive and physical load on the employee and thus reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal complaints and burnout.