Mobility for Disability

Sustainability Problem:

There exists a need for artificial muscles that are silent, soft, and compliant, with performance characteristics similar to those of skeletal muscle, enabling people to overcome their disabilities. Different types of electric motors or pneumatic systems drive exoskeletons, prosthetic and assistive devices to enhance human performance or aid disabled people to walk and carry out everyday tasks. They provide fast responses but are bulky, heavy, stiff, noisy, non-biological in feeling, and as such less accepted by the end user.

Technology:

  • Textile processing permits scalable and rational production of wearable artificial muscles, and enables novel ways to design assistive devices.
  • Swedish researchers have created actuators (An actuatoris a type of motor that is responsible for moving or controlling a mechanism or system)— from cellulose yarn coated with a polymer that reacts to electricity. These fibers are then woven and knitted using standard industrial machines and coated with conducting polymers using a metal-free deposition. The researchers have called these textile actuators, “textuators”.
  • These textuators scale up force by parallel assembly of single fibers (Fig A), amplify the strain by using stretchable patterns ( B), and can be effectively mass fabricated. This will allow for a new means of driving and designing assistive devices, such as exoskeleton-like suits with integrated wearable actuators.

F1.large

Stakeholders:

Hospitals, NGOs caring for disabled people, People with temporary or permanent disabilities, Elderly people, Prosthetic industry, Physiotherapists, People recovering from injuries etc.

Implementation:

Knitting and weaving artificial muscles could help create soft exoskeletons that people with disabilities could wear under their clothes to help them walk. By varying the processing method and the weaving pattern, it should be possible to tailor the force and strain characteristics of a textuator to the specific application at hand.

Article:

https://www.livescience.com/57631-smart-exosuit-fabric-could-boost-mobility.html

http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/1/e1600327.full

 

Comments on other blogs

“Smartscooter & Smart Energy Network”

“A good concept, but it could also focus on allowing more than a single ridership. Use of shared resources in nations would lesser the vehicular traffic on roads.”

“Longer Lasting Produce!”

How does it reduce disease? Can this technology be also used to store grains?

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