Long-term pain is perhaps the single most important factor reducing the quality of life of older people. New technology based on therapeutic smart textiles may aid in pain management. The idea behind the technology is to reduce the effects of impaired muscle strength, mobility, balance, memory or sensitivity due to natural causes or disease.
In a new Smart Textiles project at Science Park Borås, University of Borås and Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden, prototypes based on therapeutic electro-stimulating smart textiles will be developed and tested in the area of geriatric technology.
Associate Professor Nils-Krister Persson, Head of Research at the Smart Textiles Technology Lab, explained: “Pain is a cause of many fall accidents in the elderly. The project therefore focuses on preventing falls by combating pain in the elderly. The intention is to make its use easy for the patients themselves, relatives and caregivers thanks to the advantage of textiles being naturally present in everyday life, and since textiles are intimately associated with well-being.. “
The goal is for older people to want to use the technology, because as with any instruction from a doctor or other prescribing healthcare worker, compliance is central. But there are many reasons why a patient will not follow the doctor’s instructions; for example, something is too bulky, there are side effects, or the costs are too high. In this project, a type of geriatric technology based on textiles will be studied and proposed. Textiles are familiar to everyone, easy to use and inexpensive, thereby increasing compliance.
Pain is a very complex area, which is why project researchers will develop three different prototypes to define what type of pain can be best countered. This is done through clinical studies on patients with the smart textiles developed. The aim of the project is to generate sufficient knowledge so that there is a solid basis for further commercialization.
The “Lisa – Everyday Geriatric Technology” project is carried out in collaboration between Smart Textiles, where prototypes will be developed, and Karolinska University Hospital, where clinical studies will be carried out. The project is funded by the Kamprad Family Foundation and runs for two years until August 2023.
Smart Textiles and the Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås are the largest environment in Northern Europe for research and development of advanced textiles, materials, products and processes, with particular emphasis on the field of health and medicine.
Smart Textiles brings together projects and platforms connected to the textile sector. With the vision “A better world through textile innovations”, textile innovations are developed, made available and updated, and they can be used in innovative commercial products in unexpected ways. The mission of Smart Textiles is to continue to grow to become the leading innovation partner at international level in textile renewal in order to strengthen Sweden’s competitiveness.
The Smart Textiles Technology Lab and the Smart Textiles Design Lab are responsible for experimental research within Smart Textiles and enable close collaboration between research and companies. The aim of the laboratory is to create a bridge between research and business through which projects and research ideas will inspire and create the conditions necessary to come closer to both the development of prototypes and products.