Scientists at the University of Bristol have developed robotic pants with built-in artificial muscles designed to aid the elderly or people with disabilities.
The soft robotic clothing gives users added strength and balance to prevent falls and let them move around more easily. The material also can give users bionic strength, helping them stand up, climb stairs, and walk more steadily.
The team combined software robotics with three-dimensional printing and nanotechnology to enable the exoskeleton to work in coordination with the user's own muscles.
Bristol researcher Jonathan Rossiter says the technology has the potential to address many of the issues associated with existing devices used by people with mobility problems, as well as reducing healthcare costs. He says the robotics might even replace crutches, stair lifts, and wheelchairs.
"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," Rossiter notes.
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