Robotic pants could help people stay mobile longer

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A group of scientists have developed a pair of robotic pants that could help stroke survivors and people struggling with mobility issues improve their quality of life.

The pants, which debuted this week at the British Science Festival, combine electroactive polymers technology, graphene composites and nanoparticles to simulate muscle movement. By doing so, the pants help wearers move more easily from a sitting to standing position, and helps them walk for longer periods of time.

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“If you keep people mobile longer, it keeps them cognitively able longer,” Jonathan Rossiter, a professor of robotics at the University of Bristol in Bristol, England, and the lead researcher of the project, told ABC News.

“Keeping people happy longer, that’s the real goal,” Rossiter said.

More than 21 million Americans were estimated in a 2016 U.S. Census Bureau to have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs.

Rossiter said the pants, which have not yet been tested on humans, could be just the beginning of a new wave of robotic clothing that could assist in everyday life tasks to improve people’s quality of life.

“Our clothing hasn’t changed in over 1,000 years,” Rossiter said.

“We’re due for a change.”