Verve Motion Wearable Robotics Enable Healthy Lifting for Humans

See how SOLIDWORKS on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform enables Verve Motion to create innovative robotic "wearables" that can help do the heavy lifting for thousands of workers worldwide.


Reduce the impact of lifting up to 50,000 pounds every day for employees in warehouses, distribution centers, and work sites worldwide. Needed a design and collaborative environment to effectively prototype and build the world's first intelligent wearable robotic device.


Add 3DEXPERIENCE® Works collaboration, data management, and communication solutions—including Collaborative Designer for SOLIDWORKS®, Collaborative Industry Innovator, and Collaborative Business Innovator roles combined with SOLIDWORKS to develop the latest advances in robotics, apparel design, and movement science to create the SafeLift Suit.


  • Developed a product from scratch leveraging the Dassault Systèmes Startups program
  • Reduce time for each 3D printed prototype
  • Improved communication, collaboration, documentation and data management
  • Can update design prototypes every 3 weeks

Speculation regarding the current and predicted abilities of artificial intelligence (AI) is all over the news and internet. Many workers rightly fear that AI and robots might replace their jobs. Workers in one industry, however, may be significantly enabled and protected by AI.

Employees in warehouses, distribution centers, and work sites worldwide lift millions of pounds of consumer goods, hardware, equipment, and groceries daily. Not surprisingly, lifting up to 50,000 pounds every day—among hundreds of movements—regularly results in muscle fatigue and back injuries. For companies, that means significant medical expenses, increased turnover, and decreased productivity.

Expanding this scenario to the worldwide picture makes clear that empowering these human workers with lifting assistance helps keep supply chains moving and the economy along with them, especially as consumer demand grows.

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Safer Lifting for Humans

Verve Motion, a startup in Cambridge, Massachusetts, combined the latest advances in robotics, apparel design, and movement science to create the SafeLift Suit, the world's first intelligent wearable robotic device.

The SafeLift Suit employs specialized sensors combined with proprietary hardware to know when a user is lifting and provides assistance via a motorized backpack and connected thigh wraps. With eight different customization points, the Suit is easily tailored to humans from 5 feet to 6 feet 6 inches tall. It takes only 30 seconds to put on once customized, and its flexible and breathable fabric doesn't interfere with workers' routine movements. Its two shoulder-mounted lithium-ion batteries, which can be replaced in seconds, easily last for 10 to 12 hours, or about 3,000 lifts.

The soft backpack device weighs less than 6.5 pounds. It works in parallel with underlying musculature, enabling up to a 40% reduction in workload on a wearer's biological muscles when lifting, which creates less fatigue and stress on the body and reduces injuries. In addition, inertial sensors in the torso and thigh wraps collect motion data that can identify risky or unsafe movements and provide clear, actionable reports to the wearer and their supervisors via an online portal.

Speeding Product Development

Verve Motion built on technology pioneered and developed at Harvard's Bioengineering lab. The engineers at the startup had help in developing the SafeLift Suit backpack robot from both SOLIDWORKS® and 3DEXPERIENCE® Works by leveraging the Startups program at Dassault Systèmes. The design, mechanics, electronics, and apparel were designed and engineered in SOLIDWORKS. The cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE platform enabled collaboration, documentation, and data management.

Even though it is a hardware company, Verve Motion creates new releases every few weeks and 3D prints directly from SOLIDWORKS models, which is a crucial capability. Ilya Mirman, Head of Marketing and Sales Operations, summarizes, "You got complex geometries. You can consolidate assemblies. You don't need to commit to one particular tooling. You got a new rev and you print it out. And the beauty is the new generation of printers. 3D printers feature large build volumes, fast build rates, and a lot of different materials. And you can really go to production with 3D printing.

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