Efforts are on to develop flexible suits with a smart control system that is to be worn by patients with muscle or even nerve damage to assist with mobility.
Exoskeletons are skeletons on the outside of one’s bodies. In health technology, exoskeletons can indeed provide patients with the strength as well as balance needed to stand and even walk. But what if a patient’s problem is not with the bones or joints, but with the nerves or muscles? One can then go in for wearable robotics.
Most of the “exoskeletons” feature rigid parts, motors, and batteries. On the other hand, a heavy exoskeleton is not the obvious solution then.
The aim is to develop robots patients that can put on like a flexible light suit with a smart control system as well as lightweight parts without the need for tools such as crutches.
These robot developments are indeed live-tested.
The wearable robots to help patients to regain as well as strengthen the movement. The robot replaces or even improves a damaged body function or trains people to move about by themselves again.
The robots can also very well lighten up therapeutic loads. For example, they can also help people to stand up and walk after strokes or paraplegia. Wearable robots can also assist people who are structurally overburdening their bodies.
Other uses for wearable robotics
In addition to healthcare, a wearable robot can also be used in numerous applications, from communications to safety.
Wearable robots can also be deployed in remote collaboration or telepresence. A wearer’s movements are remotely translated to, for example, a robot arm’s movements.
The researchers also aim to use the real-time control on the basis of individuals’ muscle models as well as muscles’ nervous activity (electromyography).
The focus is on Brain-Computer Interface Race, Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike Race, Powered Arm Prosthesis Race, Powered Leg Prosthesis Race, Powered Exoskeleton Race, and Powered Wheelchair Race. The tasks will continue to be relevant to everyday life, but they will reflect advances in research as well.
The field of soft wearable robotics does offer the opportunity to wear robots like clothes to assist the movement of specific body parts or to endow the body with functionalities. Collaborative efforts of materials, apparel, and robotics science have indeed already led to the development of wearable technologies for physical therapy. Optimizing the human-robot system by human-in-the-loop approaches will rather pave the way for personalized soft wearable robots for several kinds of applications.
Efforts are on to create soft robots designed to aid human movement. They are light, efficient, and built into the fabric of clothes. The idea of having a wearable robot is not by itself new, but there have been previous versions referred to as “exoskeletons,” as they have been typically used for rigid outer frames for support.
Robotic does indeed play a vital role in human lives and new innovations are coming up in order to facilitate human existence.