Nottingham Trent University to knit for the military

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University are to knit synthetic sleeves for injured military personnel.

The University has been given a grant to develop knitted prosthetic sleeves for injured service personnel. The current prosthetic sleeves are made of textile fabrics coated with a sheet of silicone rubber, which means sweat is not transported away from the skin and it needs to be emptied.

Now Nottingham Trent University’s (NTU) Advanced Textile Research Group have received over £65,000 from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to develop the concept for the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

Professor Tilak Dias is head of the research group and has the enviable title of Professor of Knitting at Nottingham Trent University:

“The first phase of work has been completed, demonstrating the potential for sleeves knitted with smart yarns, which have the required grip, longitudinal stiffness and transverse flexibility, which can be customised for each individual amputee.”

Tilak Dias, Professor of Knitting at  NTU

On the strength of results of the first development Dstl is also funding the next phase which will see the University’s team work closely with personnel from the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) at Headley Court in Surrey.

There they will begin user trials which will help develop a breathable and comfortable sleeve to address the problems with present sleeves.

Neal Smith, Capability Adviser for Medical Sciences at Dstl says: “The work undertaken by the university in addressing the needs of injured service personnel is showing great promise and has also highlighted the skills sets and capabilities available within the research team and Nottingham Trent University.”

“We are now utilising these capabilities in wider parts of our medical sciences research programme, for example, in the development of training aids and wearable technologies.”

The university will exhibit and pitch this technology today (Thursday, February 5) to an audience of defence industry experts and private investors at the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) Marketplace.

Head of CDE, Andy Nicholson, says: “I’m very pleased to see this innovation developed by a university on display today and I’m glad that CDE funding helped Nottingham Trent University develop this important technology.”

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