Robotic clothing to help disabled get on with life

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London, March 20 (IANS) In good news for the physically challenged and elderly, scientists have conceived the idea of robotic clothing that would help them enjoy greater physical movement.

Researchers are working to develop wearable robotics to help people with mobility impairments, disabilities and age-related difficulties to move easily and unaided.

“At present people with restricted mobility have limited options when it comes to supportive devices,” said professor Russell Harris from Loughborough University, one of the seven universities involved in the project.

“Many wearable options are cumbersome, uncomfortable and do not always offer the correct support in the right places.”

“The aim of this project is to create wearable soft robotics that represent normal clothing whilst offering comprehensive mobility support,” Harris added.

The “smart” clothing would support areas of limb injury or limited mobility to allow people to engage in greater degrees of physical activity, according to information provided by Loughborough University.

The researcher want to integrate electroactive polymers into high performance fabrics to create clothing that is both supportive and comfortable to wear.

The clothing will assist movement through integrating forms of artificial “muscles” made from “smart” materials and reactive polymers, which are capable of exerting physical force.

For patients needing rehabilitation, the smart clothing can initially provide strong support and subsequently reduce assistance as the patient recovers mobility and strength.

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