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Smart Textiles

MotorSkins debut at Hannover Messe

Hydraulic circuits sealed within multilayer textiles to create robotics without batteries or motors.

16th May 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Hannover. Germany

Sports/​Outdoor, Medical/Hygiene

Berlin-based start-up MotorSkins will present its shape-changing soft-robotic textiles at the forthcoming Hannover Messe – one of the world’s largest trade fairs dedicated to industry development taking place in the German city from May 30th to June 2nd.

MotorSkins produces garments that help muscles move without any electronics such as batteries or motors and its first product is a compression garment for legs.

The garment is uniquely stimulated by movement  – when the foot of the user compresses one part of the circuit against the floor during a step, the pressure and volume are transferred to the active part, which powers it.

Working at the interface between sport, wellness and health, MotorSkins is creating products that can be used medically, for relaxation, or to support movement, depending on requirements.

The robotic fabrics are embedded with fluidics – hydraulic circuits sealed within multilayer textiles to create strong yet soft materials with multifunctional patterns.

“Seed capsules – such as pine cones, for example – can perform complex, reversible movement based on their cellular arrangement and anisotropic swelling,” explains managing director Juan Opitz-Silva. “Similarly, we want to present an alternative approach to traditional robotics through an elegant design that is simpler, more familiar and more energy-efficient. As humans, we are so familiar with fabrics that they each have different meanings for us. Different textiles can feel comfortable, luxurious, friendly, safe, cosy or sporty, for example. We find the solution that’s right for the product and the application.

“MotorSkins technology bridges the functionality of soft-robotics with the versatility of textiles. We are a development platform for applications that explore human-machine interaction. Our technology creates a new paradigm of innovation in materials and sustainability where smart active elements are made without integrating electronics or batteries.”

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