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Devices make heavy lifting less of a pain

TOKYO -- Lower back pain is something caregivers, farmers and factory workers know all too well. But engineers in Japan are developing wearable mechanisms that help with heavy lifting, whether it be crates or bedridden patients.

     The emergence of robotic assistance suits comes not a moment too soon. Aging societies like Japan's face a growing need for nursing care workers and a worsening shortage of labor in sectors such as construction and agriculture. Widespread adoption of wearable robots in Japan could help to solve those problems -- and provide a template for other graying nations.

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