Seniors and disabled people alike have trouble getting around. Thankfully, Swedish scientists say that they've created a special type of fabric that may one day help such people move around!
The fabric, which incorporates robotic techniques, will provide people with mobility problems with muscle power, the scientists say. Here's everything you need to know about this fantastic new invention.
This new technology by Swedish scientists could lead to the creation of textile muscles
To make the clothing with textile muscles, Swedish scientists from Linkoping University in Sweden coated normal fabric with electro-active (meaning it responds to electricity) material.
The electro-active material enabled the regular fabric to respond to low voltage power. When scientists applied low voltage electricity to the special fabric, it caused the electro-active material to react in a way that changes the fibres of fabric to increase in length.
The scientists believe that this new technology could lead to the creation of textile muscles, which may one day help people with mobility issues.
According to the study published in the journal Science Advances
, researchers used this approach in a robotic device to lift up small weights.
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Researchers say it’s their dream to enable people with disabilities to walk again
Study research Edwin Jager, an associate professor at Linkoping University, said in a university news release, “Enormous and impressive advances have been made in the development of exoskeletons, which now enable people with disabilities to walk again. But the existing technology looks like rigid robotic suits.”
“It’s our dream to create exoskeletons that are similar to items of clothing, such as running tights that you can wear under your normal clothes. Such devices could make it easier for older persons and those with impaired mobility to walk,” Jager added.
Nils-Krister Persson, another study researcher who’s an associate professor at the University of Boras’ Swedish School of Textiles, also had his say, “If we weave the fabric, for example, we can design it to produce a high force. In this case, the extension of the fabric is the same as that of the individual threads. But what happens is that the force developed is much higher when the threads are connected in parallel in the weave. This is the same as in our muscles.”
It looks like disabled people shouldn’t lose hope on regaining their quality of life! Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for more on this new technology.