Earlier this year it was announced that a team of scientists in seven universities across the UK are looking to develop a pair of ‘smart trousers’ with artificial muscles to help the elderly and disabled move around. The team are working on “smart” trousers and socks which could help vulnerable people avoid falls and climb stairs and to move easily and unaided.
Dr Jonathan Rossiter, from the university’s department of engineering mathematics, who is leading the £2m project, said: “This is the first time soft robotics technologies have been used to address the many rehabilitation and healthcare needs in one single type of wearable device.
The soft clothes will use bionics, reactive polymers and artificial “muscles” to help the user. The researchers hope the clothes will alleviate problems caused by existing devices, such as poor circulation and damaged skin, and will reduce healthcare costs.
The smart trousers are designed to employ artificial muscles made from reactive polymers capable of exerting force. The idea is that they’ll work with the body’s own muscles to give added strength for vulnerable people to move between sitting and standing positions, for example, or help them climb stairs.
Dr Rossiter ended saying: “This is the first time soft robotics technologies have been used to address the many rehabilitation and healthcare needs in one single type of wearable device.” He added: “Wearable soft robotics has the potential to improve many of these problems and reduce healthcare costs at the same time.
Adaptawear believes this could be an interesting development and certainly one to watch! When we have more information we will of course share.