Rackety's, a Staffordshire-based clothing supplier for disabled people, has developed new, innovative trousers for seriously injured UK military personnel.
Developed with a £27,000 grant from the UK Ministry of Defence's (MoD) Defence Science and Technology Laboratory's (Dstl) Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE), the new trousers can be worn by soldiers who suffer serious leg injuries.
They can be worn over the top of specialist external supporting frames, which assist soldiers' recovery. This helps to reduce infection and gives the wearer comfort and required usability.
Until now, wounded soldiers were required to either cut their existing trousers or wear shorts in order to wear the external supporting frames.
Having submitted its idea to CDE through its Defence Enduring Challenge competition, Rackety's then worked with the Dstl to better understand the unique requirements of wounded soldiers.
In addition, Rackety's visited Headley Court to spend time with troops undergoing rehabilitation to get their views and also worked with Coventry University researchers.
Rackety's owner Annabel McMahon said CDE guided the company through the daunting process of dealing with the defence market, and also provided support with every aspect of the project.
"This led to the development of the trousers and a whole new potential market in specialised rehabilitation garments," McMahon said.
Colonel David Richmond said: "They could make a huge difference to people who've suffered similar injuries to my own, providing a practical solution and allowing them to maintain their dignity as they continue their recovery."
CDE head Andy Nicholson said: "Rackety's is a great example of how we can work with small businesses, including those without a defence background, to exploit some of the expertise in industry to benefit our people."
Additional funding is to be sought from Dstl to enable the company to look at possible commercialisation and development of a range of specialist trousers, which could help both military and civilian patients with amputations and burns.
Image: The newly developed Richmond trousers can be worn over the top of specialist external supporting frames. Photo: Crown copyright ©.