Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Enterprise Awards 2012

Social and Cultural Impact

Car driver wearing simulation suit

Loughborough SKInS – wearable simulationsTM

Ford Motor Company Limited; Napp Pharmaceuticals Limited, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Academic leaders
Sharon Cook (Design), Alistair Gibb and Phil Bust (Civil and Building Engineering)
Special acknowledgement
Special acknowledgement is given to the contribution made by Karen Walmsley

How do you know what it feels like to be old? Population ageing is a global phenomenon and with ageing comes an increased prevalence of disability.

Reading about such conditions or listening to the experiences of those who are older and/or have a disability gives an appreciation, but if you really want to get your own personal insight into how it might feel, you really need to get inside their skin.

This is the role of the Loughborough SKInS (Sensory and Kinaesthetic Interactive Simulations): wearable simulations developed at Loughborough University’s Design School. Their function is to enable non-sufferers to directly experience for themselves some aspects relating to given physical and sensory conditions.

Wearable simulations have been developed for ageing, osteoarthritis and occupational health conditions (Dermatitis; Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome; MusculoSkeletal Disorders of the lower back and knee; Noise Induced Hearing Loss and Occupational Asthma) and, unlike pc-based simulations, they enable real-time, direct interactions of the wearer’s choosing with their environment.

This form of empathic modelling is an effective approach to promoting understanding and raising awareness of the needs and limitations of others.

It is an innovative and powerful technique which holds significant potential across a range of domains: design, education, training and public engagement and has proven applicability across a variety of industries: automotive, aerospace, health, architecture and mobility.


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