Innovation series: Wearable technology teaches people to walk again
A cooperative international project has designed "thinking trousers" to help people regain mobility after surgery. The wearable technology is equipped with sensors that tell the patient if they are walking correctly and in balance.
The project team called wearHEALTH is based at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern and is working in cooperation with the Institute of Biomechanics Lindenplatz, a rehabilitation center in the same city, as well as the startup Xenoma in Tokyo, Japan. "The trousers are to use sound, speech and vibrations to communicate with the wearer in order to improve their gait quality,” says project director Gabriele Bleser.
The sensor system and user interface are being developed in Germany, while the hardware itself – the garment – comes from Japan. The technology potentially has a broad spectrum of applications beyond gait monitoring after surgery.
The wearHEALTH team additionally cooperates with other partners from research and business, as well as healthcare. Among the organizations supporting them are Germany's Federal Ministry of Research and Technology.