When astronauts travel through zero gravity, they lose a lot of musclemass since the body meets no resistance. The human body can lose as much as 20% of muscle mass during only eleven days. This means that when they arrive on a planet with gravity they are very weak, even something as simple as walking can be difficult.
We got in contact with Edwin Jager, a professor in applied physics at Linköping University. He has researched and started to develop a muscle-like fabric. By coating fabric fibres with an electroactive solution, it can act as real muscle fibres when it is activated with electricity. It contracts and releases. The textile still in the research phase, but will be available at larger scale in about 10 years. We wanted to create a concept around this fabric.
We decided to focus on the action of walking, and researched the gait cycle. How can we give an extra push so that the taking a step gets easier when weakened?
Since the muscle-like fabric was not available for us to use yet,we used elastic bands and retracted them by our own physical force. The result is a suit which imitates the real muscles. When the thigh muscle contracts, the suit imitates and also retracts.
We made one works-like model as seen on the previous page, and one looks-like model. The final looks-like model has sporty look inspired by space. We wanted to enhance the imitation of the muscles and the way they move. The dark colors were chosen both because of the inspiration but also to not get dirty easily.