Showing posts with label smart materials. Show all posts
Showing posts with label smart materials. Show all posts

Monday, 18 July 2016

Shape-Morphing with Smart Materials Promises Hope for Assistive Technology

Many of us understand the impact physical disability can have on an individual’s life, don’t we?Perhaps many of us have a firsthand experience with some sort of disability. In the U.K., over 1000 people suffer from spinal cord injury every year, according to Mark C Ransley a researcher and innovator at UCL. According to the research analysts at Allied Market Research assessing the size and share of the smart materials market, more than 15,500 stroke cases are reported every year in U.K. Loss of motor ability is the most tragic condition found in the aging population and the smart materials market has to prepare itself for the reality over the coming years. Besides elders, the younger population will also depend on assistive technology. 

Smart material market- allied market research

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The origin of assisted technology can be traced back to 5000 BC, where the use of wheelchair and crunches were common. However, recent discoveries in the material science are making things more lightweight as well as comfortable. The first ever radical approach in material science was the discovery of the robotic exoskeleton. These machines were developed to assist people perform manual labor, repetitive tasks, and strenuous chores. There are several reason why exoskeleton failed to attract many investors. They were noisy, expensive, and inaccurate. Moreover, the power requirements for the product was very high.  Besides, the rigid mechanical frames have posed limitations for people with imparities. 

Thus, researchers have adopted a completely different radical approach when it comes to the smart materials market. They believe that a transition from assisted robotic technology into the whole new world of assistive material holds answers to some important questions. The smart materials being developed today can electronically change their texture, shape, and stiffness. So wearable robots will be soon replaced by a smart wearable suit and amplify your movement by the virtue of the contraction and stiffening abilities of the material. This would mean that elders can let go off their walking stick as the material will carry the weight for you.