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Wearable Assistive Materials
The Institute of Making are involved in an EPSRC-funded project, led by Professor Nick Tyler in Civil Engineering, which aims to develop the materials for a wearable exoskeleton that can act as a walking support system. The Wearable Assistive Materials (WAM) project is part of a programme of research designed, in the long term, to make wheelchairs redundant for as many people as possible. In 2004 the Department of Health estimated that there are some 1.2 million wheelchair users in the UK, with about 850,000 of these being regular users of NHS services. Although the use of a wheelchair can enable a person to move around, this comes with a cost. There is a real problem with rotator cuff tears and other shoulder problems resulting from the continued work of self-propulsion, and these injuries themselves require costly treatment.
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