Hospitalized patients and folks under the care of others often need help getting out of bed, standing up from a chair, and to move around. The best tools for this is still another person’s arms and back to do the heavy lifting. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology in Germany are working on a special “soft robot” vest that can help save the backs of caregivers while giving them superhuman strength.
The device is powered by the wearer’s own movements, storing power when the carer bends down to help someone and releasing the energy just when needed. The strength of the powered assistance and how it kicks in can be easily adjusted depending on the situation.
Additionally, sensors built within the vest’s flexible material monitor the wearer’s motion, warning of potentially dangerous activity that can cause injury to the back.