Superman Suits Have Been Created by Scientists
Superman suits are here to stay! Well, before you get too excited, it is important to note that no, they will not allow you to fly on your own, but they will make you stronger. These, so called, Superman Suits, are muscle-like textiles made from cellulose that can respond to low-voltage electricity and contract just like normal muscles can.
These types of Superman Suits will be a blessing for those with disabilities in order to enhance their mobility, being a far lighter and better alternative than exoskeletons. They can also be used by healthy people in doing all sorts of strenuous jobs and help lessen the load.
“Like a muscle, the actuation is triggered by an electrical potential, driven by a chemical reaction, and operated in an electrolyte,” says study author Edwin Jager, an applied physicist at Linköping University, Sweden.
The material was specifically designed and produced so as to perfectly match normal muscle tissue. It was then submerged into an electroactive solution, thus making it responsive to electricity. This way, the material can exhibit properties similar to real muscles.
“In this case, the extension of the fabric is the same as that of the individual threads. But what happens is that the force developed is much higher when the threads are connected in parallel in the weave,” said Nils-Krister Persson of the Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås for ResearchGate.
These materials can be added to different parts of a clothing article and make movement easier, especially for those of us who have a greater difficulty in doing so.
“Enormous and impressive advances have been made in the development of exoskeletons, which now enable people with disabilities to walk again. But the existing technology looks like rigid robotic suits. It is our dream to create exoskeletons that are similar to items of clothing, such as ‘running tights’ that you can wear under your normal clothes. Such device could make it easier for older persons and those with impaired mobility to walk,” Jager said in a statement for the press.
But even so, these Superman Suits can’t really compare to exoskeletons. The material is still in its testing phase and a lot more is needed to be done before it can reach mass production and an actual applicability.
“I hope that this work will inspire others to look into the possibilities of textile technology,” says Jager. “My collaborators have taught me that textiles, ubiquitous as they are, can truly be high-tech technology.”