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"Muscle suits" to help elderly

20th August 2014

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

A Japanese mechanical engineering professor has helped develop new so-called “muscle suits” in a move to assist with the growing number of the country’s elderly residents.

The special suit makes lifting objects and movement easier and is thought to significantly aid the elderly generation by “help[ing] people live independently and self-sufficiently." It is hoped that the suit could aid immensely in everyday tasks, much like mobility aids such as the curved stairlift and hand rails currently do across the world, helping the older generation live more independently and remain safe in their own homes without having to move to a care home or similar institution.

“Joints are moved by artificial muscles”

Hiroshi Kobayashi, the mastermind behind the revolutionary new suit said in this article that “The joints are moved by artificial muscles, so the wearer is able to move about unencumbered. There is zero risk to the wearer, even if it malfunctions." This means that hopefully one day soon people across the world will be able to move better and more independently.

The suit is due to go on sale next month and will initially be used by agricultural workers who suffer from lower back pain and employees at day care and retirement homes before widespread use is encouraged.

While the suits are still in their initial stages, as they become more popular and highly used it is thought that they will benefit the elderly and disabled individuals as well. In fact, Kobayashi and his collaborators at Kikuchi Seisakusho believe that the suits will be more affordable and sophisticated by as soon as the end of the decade, when they can be in more ‘common use among disabled and elderly people with mobility problems’.

With such technology in the pipeline, it may not be long until we see a clearer answer to our aging population, although walk in shower cubicles and baths are already giving the elderly and mobility restricted more options and choices in their independence and daily living.

Image Credit: Mr Hicks46 (flickr.com)

This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.