Falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide. Today, over 12 million people in the UK are aged 65 and above and one in three of them will suffer a fall each year. With life expectancy rising globally, these numbers are likely to continually rise.
Wrist and hip fractures are the most frequent result of falls, but the consequences also lead to a loss of independence, limited mobility, isolation, and fear of falling again. These injuries alone cost the NHS over £2.3 billion pounds each year.
Physical protection aids always offer a trade-off in mobility. Current supportive and protective equipment is bulky, rigid, reduces agility, and can also lead to time- and cost-intensive rehabilitation and physiotherapy following muscle loss caused by constant support. These problems exist across multiple industries including sports protection, medical rehabilitation, industrial work safety, and defence applications.
SCALED is the world’s first nature-inspired material innovation that maximises mobility and protection by combining a parametric algorithm with 3D printing. SCALED is flexible in one direction and interlocking in another, preventing any motion exceeding a healthy range while providing full mobility. Additionally, the innovation provides collision support, as when each scale is impacted, it dissipates the force across its three neighbouring plates.
SCALED is mass-customised by its parametric algorithm. Each individual scale’s geometry is unique and facilitates a custom degree of flex, providing protection for any body area or joint, and any body shape, for any type of activity. SCALED improves rehabilitation and protects against injuries, with a vision to ultimately predict injuries through sensors, motion tracking and artificial intelligence (AI). Key milestones to reach over the Enterprise Fellowship include laboratory, material and user testing.
SCALED is currently working with professional athletes and physiotherapists in the UK to gain key insights and iterate through a user-centred design approach. The company currently has a patent pending in the UK for its algorithm, materials used, manufacturing method, and application areas.
Key partners to date include: