The Reconfigurable Robotics Lab at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne is working on a technology called robotic exoskeletons. They are developing a tubular muscle that is made of elastic materials wherein they can control its motion. The tubes can stretch and bend when activated by air pumps.
These worm-like actuators will then be packed into bundles, and be turned into simple robots that can mimic human muscles.
Soft Robots: (Source: YouTube, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne)
According to EPFL’s Matthew Robertson in a pres release “We are working with physical therapists from the University Hospital of Lausanne who are treating stroke victims. The belt is designed to support the patient’s torso and restore some of the person’s motor sensitivity.”
Soft Robots: (Source: École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne)
By combining the best of rigid electronics and passive assistance like compression garments, this creation may be able to help patients undergoing physical therapy. As of now, this is the application the team targets, but there are a lot of other applications this tech can be used for.