The Drill Boss is the commercial version of a device developed by researchers studying ergonomics at the University of California in Berkeley. It’s a rig that holds one or more rotary hammers, and is designed to boost productivity while reducing the operator’s exposure to muscle strain, vibration, and silica dust. Instead of hand-holding a rock drill or rotary hammer, the operator stands off to the side and turns a crank on the Drill Boss that advances the tool into the work (see video below). Strain and vibration are absorbed by the rig; dust is handled by the dust collecting vacuum and shroud (or hollow drill bit) of your choice. The purchaser supplies the rotary hammer, which need not be a particular brand; any number of models can be bolted into the rig. Holes can be drilled horizontally, vertically, and at almost any angle in between.

Is there a Drill Boss in your future? Probably not, unless your company drills hundreds of holes per day or drills concrete on a regular basis. And there are companies that do that; most are involved with large commercial construction projects—which is where the device underwent testing. With a price tag of $4,500, the Drill Boss is beyond the means of the average contractor. But large construction companies may buy them and one can hope that some of the rental yards will too.