Neural Sleeve is an AI-based leg sleeve that can help correct muscle movements in people with limited mobility.
California-based Cionic and Yves Behár’s Fuseproject studio partnered to create the unusual wearable by leveraging a technology called Functional Electric Stimulation (FES). The project goal was to make FES scalable and more accessible through clever design and innovative technological solutions. The sleeve’s goal is to help people with disabilities due to multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, or spinal chord injuries. “Think of it as a way to sort of remote-control your own leg,” commented Behár. “What the algorithms do and what the electrodes do is they deliver that right sequence. And when the brain has relearned and re-acquired the knowledge of how to fire those muscles, the sleeve is not needed anymore.”
Neural Sleeve comprises a fabric component that users can quickly wrap around their leg or legs to position the electrodes above the leg muscles correctly. A central processing unit placed in a pocket on the thigh elaborates the user’s gait information and fires the electrodes to correct and incentivize proper muscle activation patterns. The user can partially control the process with a smartphone app that pairs directly with the sleeve’s computer via Bluetooth.
According to Cionic, the technology shows promising results, and could be applied to other muscular chains in the body. “With more than 35 million Americans living with mobility impairments, the need for customisable full-spectrum solutions is growing – particularly within the ageing population,” the company said.