SCALED prosthetic cast image
SCALED prosthetic cast

A wearable airbag belt that detects and cushion falls and a prosthetic cast that replicates a reptile’s skin to provide protection and rehabilitation without restricting movement are among the ‘designs of tomorrow’ being exhibited at the interactive online Global Grad Show.

The Fallsafe Airbag Belt, designed by Colm Flynn from the University of Limerick, uses sensors to identify when the wearer is about to fall, activating airbags to protect the hips from possible injury.

SCALED, which comes from Natalie Kerres from Imperial College London, is modelled on animal scales and provides a flexible, bespoke wearable that protects the body and can be used in rehabilitation – reducing stiffness and muscle wastage compared to plaster casts.

The Global Grad Show is an innovation programme for graduates and universities working on Social Impact Innovation projects in the fields of design, science, technology and engineering. It is designed to bring together the world’s best academic minds to develop solutions for a better world – showcasing 100 pioneering designs, selected from 1,600 applications from 270 Universities in 60 countries – including Harvard, Imperial College London and the Samsung Art and Design Institute.

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SCALED was designed to combat the problem of complex, lengthy and costly rehabilitation still leading to long-term immobility following injuries to joints. This occurs largely because existing protective and supportive wearables can have the effect of reducing movement and muscle strength.

The flexible and custom-fitting protective SCALED wearables are based on animal scales and use a parametric design that enables them to move precisely according to the wearer’s needs. This structure is capable of distributing force on impact and is flexible in one direction while interlocking in another, therefore providing both mobility and protection.

Another innovation being showcased at the Global Grad Show is the Fallsafe Airbag belt, which is designed to reduce the impact of falls – the number one cause of death in the elderly.

Fallsafe Airbag Belt image
Fallsafe Airbag Belt

It uses Fall detection System Analysis to identify a fall and activate an airbag in just 300 milliseconds. The technology, which is designed for older people who are at risk of falling regularly, uses a simple design and is turned on whenever the belt buckle is closed.

Tadeu Baldani Caravieri, Director of the Global Grad Show, said: “Often unbeknown to the general public, researchers at universities are developing a myriad of solutions for complex issues of today and tomorrow.

“From medical engineering to architecture and data science, young graduates are at the forefront of complex problem solving, working on technologies for the greater good.”

The show, now in its sixth year, is taking place online and aims to put graduates in touch with those who can assist with and fund their research. There is a £2 million 10-year fund to help exhibitors to bring their inventions to market.

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