Wednesday November 13, 2019

Researchers to Develop Wearable Devices to Help People with Mobility Issues Walk

Following research and development, the team aims to conduct clinical trials and then bring the devices into the supply chain once the project is over

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obesity
FILE - A man crosses a main road as pedestrians carrying food walk along the footpath in central Sydney, Australia. VOA

Researchers in the UK are working on a project that would develop soft, wearable rehabilitative devices to help the elderly and disabled people walk and move from sitting to a standing position in comfort and safety.

Led by Professor of Robotics Jonathan Rossiter at University of Bristol, the “FREEHAB” project builds on discoveries from the previous “Right Trousers” project which saw the team develop new soft materials that could be used like artificial muscles.

Rehabilitation is vital for patient, but according to Professor Rossiter, outcomes are hampered by a lack of easy-to-use dynamic tools to help therapists accurately analyse mobility performance and devise effective programmes.

“As rehabilitation increasingly takes place in patients’ homes in the absence of a therapist, better ways to support in-home mobility and training are needed,” said the researchers.

petrochemical industry
FILE – A man walks past the Mahshahr petrochemical plant in Khuzestan province, southwest of Tehran, Iran. VOA

The materials from which the artificial muscles are made include 3D-printable electroactive gel materials, and soft but strong pneumatic chains that change shape when inflated and can exert considerable force.

“Together with integrated sensing technology, we will make devices that physiotherapists can use to accurately pinpoint limitations in their patients’ movements, thus enabling them to plan personalised training programmes,” said Professor Rossiter.

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“We will also make simpler devices that the patient can use to enhance their mobility activities and exercise with confidence when a therapist is not with them,” he added.

Following research and development, the team aims to conduct clinical trials and then bring the devices into the supply chain once the project is over. (IANS)

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Extra 15 Minutes of Daily walk, or Jogging Steady One Kilometer Each Day could Boost Economic Growth

The economic boost would come from lower mortality rates - in other words keeping more people alive, working and contributing to the economy

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Walk, Jogging, Economic
A man exercises early in the morning along the Arabian Sea in Mumbai, India. VOA

The world economy could be boosted by as much as $100 billion a year if employers successfully encouraged their staff to meet World Health Organization guidelines on exercise, according to an analysis of the economic impact of activity. Jogging.

Adding an extra 15 minutes of daily walking, or jogging a steady one kilometer each day, would improve productivity and extend life expectancy – leading to more economic growth, the study by the health insurance group Vitality and the think tank RAND Europe found.

The economic boost would come from lower mortality rates – in other words keeping more people alive, working and contributing to the economy for longer, the study’s authors said, and from employees taking fewer days off sick.

Hans Pung, RAND Europe’s president, said the study highlighted “a significant relationship between inactivity and productivity loss” and should give policymakers and employers “new perspectives on how to enhance the productivity of their populations.”

Walk, Jogging, Economic
Adding an extra 15 minutes of daily walking, or jogging a steady one kilometer each day, would improve productivity and extend life expectancy – leading to more economic growth. Pixabay

The WHO recommends that all adults should take at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, a week. In a study last year it found that around 40 percent of adults in the United States, 36 percent in Britain and 14 percent in China did too little exercise to stay healthy.

The RAND/Vitality study was based in part on data from about 120,000 people across seven countries. It then modelled and projected the potential economic benefits of increased physical activity globally and for 23 individual countries.

It found that if all adults aged between 18 and 64 walked 15 more minutes a day, it could increase world economic output by some $100 billion (£77 billion) year on year.

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It also found that physically inactive 40-year-olds could increase their life expectancy, on average, by 3.2 years, by introducing 20 minutes of jogging a day. (VOA)