A Robotic Suit to Update Your Granny

Mathilde Nakken
December 30th 2016

When you see the bent backs and creaky knees of your grandparents you sometimes wish you could strengthen their bodies again. Well, we might have the solution for you: an exoskeleton suit for the elderly. Whit the Super Flex suit your granny will become stronger than spiderman.

Super Flex is a piece of rechargeable clothing that supports weak muscles in their movements. These extra mechanical muscles mainly helps strengthening the core and back, creating a healthy body posture. The creators of the suit are from SRI International, the developers of your new best friend SIRI and DARPA, who create exoskeletons for military purposes. Now they made the switch from army to an everyday consumer product for the elderly. Now comfort and convenience became the main design requirements. Therefore a co-creation with textile designers is needed to create the perfect wearable exoskeleton suit.

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"I’m not afraid to say that we know we’re building the first super suit" says Super Flex CEO Rich Mahoney. "We really think about it that way. But this isn’t 22nd century sci-fi. It’s a real product, venture backed, and we’re trying to specialize for a population that has a specific need”.

The World Health Organization expects that "between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the world's population over 60 years will double from about 11% to 22%. The absolute number of people aged 60 years and over is expected to increase from 605 million to 2 billion over the same period". With humanity getting older, the creation of solutions to increase the mobility of elderly became essential.

Unfortunately, you will have to wait a year before you grandma can go up the stair faster then you. Super Flex is expected to be for sale in 2018, then you might be able to buy your grandma a super suit instead of a walker.

Sources: Fast Co Design, World Health Organisation
Image: Fast Co Design

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Should men be able to give birth to children?


Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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