Children with muscular diseases could have their strength boosted by a new wearable device designed by Royal College of Art graduate Xinyang Tan. Liane Wimhurst reports.
For children with progressive muscular diseases, everyday tasks like eating can be tricky Student Zingyang Tan wants to help And he's created this wearable device called Vigor SOUNDBITE (English) VIGOR DESIGNER, XINYANG TAN, SAYING: "Most of the diseases like muscular dystrophy are progressive, so the symptoms will become worse and worse, the muscles will become weaker and weaker. So if they can do more practice during young ages they exercise the muscles they already have so they become stronger and extend the period of mobility of their limbs." The device contains flexible cables powered by actuators that detect muscle movement. Vigor supports and boosts movement for the child. SOUNDBITE (English) VIGOR DESIGNER, XINYANG TAN, SAYING: "What the user needs to do is just use a little bit of force with the device. The device will provide extra strength on the muscle to help the children complete the movement." Other devices are available for children with cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. But the designer says Vigor is the first to allow movement of the joints SOUNDBITE (English) VIGOR DESIGNER, XINYANG TAN, SAYING: "Vigor, the product is more like giving dynamic or automatic support based on your feelings. You can fully control it like normal people." It was recently shown off at London's Royal College of Art Design Show Tan has set up a start-up to commercialise Vigor, once an improved version is complete.