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National Superhero day is coming. Where is my supersuit?



I liked the caricature of the "Thundercats" as a child and watched feline humanoids fighting the forces of evil. Whenever their leader was in trouble, he had unleashed the omen's sword to gain "sight," the ability to see events in distant places, or "thunder, thunder, thunder, thunderclaws, hooo!" summon his allies to his location to take part in the fight. Which child did not want these superpowers?

I also wanted the Green Lantern Ring, Wonder Womens Bracelets, the Captain America Shield, and of course Batman's Batsuit. I never imagined that 30 years later, as the National Superhero Day approaches on Sunday, I will design components for my own super suits.

I noticed that only a few months ago. On this day, my childhood dreams were immediately destroyed and fulfilled. When I stood in a row, I noticed that everyone was focused on the screens of their smartphone. Suddenly it hit me: I already had superpowers of Omen's sword. With my smartphone, I can watch videos from distant events and notify my friends via SMS. Billions of people now have what used to be called superpowers.

But what about the physical superpowers? I also wanted this ̵

1; as superhuman endurance or strength. They may not be too far behind: I work at the Vanderbilt Center for Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology. Humanity has begun to enter the age of portable exoskeletons and exosuits that support and strengthen the human body.

Supersuit for ordinary people

Over the last five years, portable exoskeletons that make up the body have switched from body to research laboratories and to public use. They are still early versions, and science is still evolving, but it includes the first of several FDA approved exoskeletons to assist individuals with a spinal cord injury or stroke Exoskeletons to ensure worker safety and reduce the fatigue of physically demanding workplaces.

Toyota even requires workers to use exoskeletons as a compulsory personal protective equipment when performing certain tasks involving fatigue and fatigue. Muscle stress could result in injury.

However, most people who could potentially benefit from it still have no access to exoskeletons because they are generally too bulky, too expensive, too disruptive to other tasks, or not yet comfortable enough. I am fascinated by the prospect that normal people will turn into superheroes of everyday life.

Pain Prevention

From my research lab, I can walk across the street and within two minutes at Veterans Affairs Hospital or Vanderbilt University its medical center. The nurses and other health professionals who perform strenuous lifting, leaning, and transportation tasks for patient care are likely to develop or experience back pain . An overallsuit could help to prevent this pain.

Back pain is a complex problem with many potential sources, but a common cause is due to stress from repetitive forces on muscles and discs. Most adults suffer from back pain at some point in their lives, and this is a major cause of physical disability. The prestigious medical journal The Lancet recently published a three-part series in which all were called up by national and international policymakers to funding agencies for researchers, engineers and clinicians Effectiveness of the company to improve care and development of innovative new solutions to combat this global epidemic.

Over the last three years, my research team has developed a garment-like exoskeleton that could be described as mechanized clothing or a spring suit, or just a supersuit. It consists of a vest and shorts made of common clothing fabrics as well as supportive fabric rubber bands and a switch that allows the wearer to turn the suit's support on or off.

When off, the wearer can move freely and fully. This is usually not the case with exoskeletons. Our suit has no engines or batteries and weighs less than three pounds. No part of it sticks out of the body so it can easily be hidden under everyday clothing.

However, it can be turned on at any time so that the suit's elastic straps take some of the load that normally passes through the person's back muscles. In a first series of lab tests, the suit reduced the lower back strain on lifting by about 20% % and leaning by up to 40%, and reducing back-shoulder fatigue by an average of 30% to 40%


We have recently set up a spin-off company called HeroWear LLC to provide this Supersuit to individuals and organizations could benefit from it. We expect the product to be on the market in 2020. We also started a multi-year study funded by the National Institutes of Health to integrate wearable sensors and machine learning into our supersuits. With these supplements, we can be able to develop future suits that monitor the strain on the wearer's back and automatically activate the support when needed.

The goal of many exoskeletons, like that of a good cartoon suit is not to do the work for the wearer, but to improve and support that person's natural abilities. Supporting back muscles is only the beginning. We have also developed a similar spring suit that supports the ankle muscles while walking and running. It can help increase stamina or reduce calf muscles and tendons when someone recovers from an injury.

Similar suits could also be designed to support the neck of nurses and surgeons who lean forward for extended periods of time during the procedure, flexing the arms for a construction worker carrying heavy items, or for a parent a child carries, decrease.

<img class = "image__src" src = "https://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/5cc33f502400003600e51261.jpg?ops=scalefit_720_noupscale" alt = "Ankle training suit that supports the ankle muscles when walking or running

Teams around the world explore a variety of portable exoskeletons, including motorized track suits to support the legs, arms and hands of individuals Following a stroke or other neurological injury, rigid robotic exoskeletons recover to assist people with spinal cord injury. and passive exoskeletons with spring support to support the arms and shoulders of individuals with tool handling or ov Increases work in factories and shipyards.

Through the use of portable sensors and biomechanical algorithms, supersuits can even be trained to provide the correct lifting technique mediate or offer resistance training to strengthen weak muscles and improve fitness.

My hope is in the next 30 years When my children are my age Performance-enhancing addition suits will be as common and banal in society as smartphones are nowadays. People may even forget about the amazing physical superpowers they provide and take for granted the individual and social benefits of supersuits for health, fitness and well-being.

Karl Zelik is Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Vanderbilt University . This article was re-published by The Conversation, an independent non-profit news site dedicated to the unlocking of ideas from science to the public, under a Creative Commons license. Read more Article on Tech by Experts.


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