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The Right Trousers project aims to develop new soft robotic technologies that will help older people and people with disabilities to live more independently and with greater quality of life.  Unlike conventional robotics, Soft robotics are new compliant active materials and structures that work in harmony with the human body.  Instead of using motors, metals and plastics soft robotics employs smart materials that bend, twist or contract when electrically stimulated. These ‘artificial muscles’ can replace motors and can be used to restore mobility and physical functionality.

The Right Trousers project encompasses a range of assist and rehabilitation applications including wearable soft devices to help people who have suffered a stroke, trousers for people that mobility problems and active orthotics.

The first project was a £2 million project called Wearable soft robotics for independent living which was led by the University of Bristol in collaboration with the universities of Nottingham, Leeds, Strathclyde, Southampton, Loughborough and UWE Bristol. The project was part of a £5.3 million funding programme announced by the EPSRC today to transform the design of assistive and rehabilitative devices. At the beginning of 2019, the Right Trousers project received a £1.5 million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to continue with a three-year follow-on project. The FREEHAB project will build on the discoveries from The Right Trousers project, starting to translate some of the developed technology from laboratory towards a clinical setting, where it can help patients with their physical rehabilitation. The FREEHAB project is a join collaboration between The University of Bristol and The University of the West of England with joint expertise in wearable soft-robotics, movement analysis and neurological rehabilitation.

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