Robotic exoskeletons have made headlines aiding the rehabilitation of people with strokes or spinal cord injuries. However, their weight, bulk, and rigid structure makes them impractical for daily use.
Soft materials like clothing's fabrics are comfortable and light.They can actively assist movement, but until now have been weak and vulnerable to failing.
We have made soft inflatable clothing that is powerful, comfortably applying torques 800 % of previous soft actuators, enough (320 Nm) to assist with all the movements encountered during everyday life.
The aim of this project is to build and use a test rig suitable for accelerated lifetime and overload testing of our soft high power and torque actuators. We plan to do this so the actuators, when operated under recommended conditions, consistently behave and do not fail suddenly when highly loaded. This will see, for the first time, the safe realisation of soft wearable actuators that provide complete assistance.