Fashion and Rehabilitation: Gloves and Accessories Enhance Tactile Perception

High-tech gloves and bracelets are breaking barriers and supporting the rehabilitation journeys of individuals affected by trauma. Fashion intertwines with science in the line of outfits developed by Federica Barsetti, a student at Modartech Institute, a School of Advanced Training in Pontedera.

The collection, aptly named ‘Mana,’ a tribal term meaning ‘inner strength,’ was created in collaboration with the Institute of Biorobotics at the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa.

The concept of physical and psychological rehabilitation inspires functional garments with a gender-neutral cut, featuring a glove and bracelet designed to enhance tactile perception. The project has been developed for market release. The scientific aspect of the project is undergoing technological development and will be tested in clinical trials in the near future.

The starting point was a bracelet and glove developed by Sant’Anna in Pisa for the rehabilitation of individuals affected by strokes or other traumas that can cause permanent or temporary damage, leading to limitations in the tactile sense of the hands. The glove houses specific sensors capable of replacing the sense of touch in individuals who have temporarily or irreversibly lost it. Sustainable materials, primarily leather, are incorporated to provide better grip.

The glove is complemented by a bracelet capable of stimulating peripheral nerve endings and promoting brain plasticity. “This ensures greater input,” explains Barsetti, “because the stroke affects a particular part of the brain that the device stimulates.” The two accessories are worn simultaneously, completing the outfit designed by the student for her Fashion Design thesis at Modartech Institute.

The message of inclusion extends to the rest of the collection, which traces the history of costumes to the present day. The collection is gender-neutral, created with cuts and measurements that can work well on both male and female bodies. Some accessories evoke the work environment, where functionality has been reimagined – for example, a raincoat transforms into a bag.