inFlashion: Laser welding of (reinforced) thermoplastic elastomer/plastic bladders for inflatable musculoskeletal clothing (UT)

Physical rehabilitation of the injured, assistance of the weak, support of laborers, and a helping hand in everyday life are things most can benefit from. Robotic exoskeletons hold this promise. Yet, a great divide separates the unergonomic nature of current exoskeletons and the comfort and ubiquity of clothing that we use without a second thought. inFlashion is a composite inflatable fabric being developed to give fashion designers the ability to make clothing active, so that it can comfortably apply large torques and powers to the human body. The aim is to do so without compromising the softness, breathability, and resistance to everyday abuse (water, dirt etc.) that clothing can handle.

Develop and validate (with fatigue and failure tests) a reliable laser welding method for inFlashion’s (reinforced) thermoplastic elastomer/plastic bladders.