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Researchers to build smart trousers and sensitive bionic hand

University of Leeds researchers will play key roles in two innovative projects using futuristic engineering to assist the human body.

One multi-university team has been awarded £1.4 million to work on a bionic hand that transmits touch sensations directly into the brain. A second team will develop a pair of smart trousers with artificial “muscles” in its soft fabric to support the movement of disabled and older people.

The projects are part of a £5.3 million programme to transform the design of assistive and rehabilitative devices funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the main UK government funding body for engineering.

Dr Rory O’Connor, Senior Lecturer in Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Leeds’ Faculty of Medicine and Health, who is involved in both projects, said: “These are not pie-in-the-sky ideas. We start work now and the funders have set us the challenge of delivering workable devices in three years.”

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The Bionic hand team brings together experts from the universities of Leeds, Essex, Keele, Southampton and Imperial College London and is led by Newcastle University.

Bionic hand - University of Leeds

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