A company called Seismic, a wearable robotics spin-off from SRI International, is showing off a new wearable suit that is meant to help the wearer boost their muscle power by working with the user's muscles. Tiny motors embedded in the suit are designed in a way that contracts like
Computer sensors are also embedded into the suit along with a computer for controlling the sensors allowing the tracking of body movement. The software can tell the artificial muscles in the clothing when to activate. All the hardware in the suit is inside the low-profile hexagon shaped pods designed for maximum comfort.
Seismic is aiming the suit at people needing assistance with mobility and as an alternative to devices like canes, wheelchairs, and walkers. The style of the super suit comes from designer Yves Behar with a focus on a look that users would actually want to wear. Seismic wants to launch the suit at the end of the year in the U.S., Japan, and the UK.
There are some significant unknowns when it comes to the Super Suit, one of which is how much it will cost. If the super suit is expensive it will be out of reach of many of the people who it will target. Another mystery is if Seismic can get the billing codes needed to be able to bill the wearable to insurance companies and Medicare. Medicare in the U.S. is rather notorious for considering the most helpful devices to be convenience items and it doesn’t pay for convenience. With a high price and no ability to bill insurance, the super suit will need to be very affordable as most elderly people who could benefit live on very fixed incomes.