RAEng 1851 Enterprise Fellow 2021

Natalie Kerres

SCALED is a nature-inspired material innovation which prevents injuries to the human body while allowing full mobility until the moment of an accident.

SCALED was initially a graduate project from Natalie Kerres, a global innovation design student from Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, as part of her final year research in 2020.

Natalie looked into ways nature is protecting animals against physical threats to translate findings to personal protective equipment. She got especially intrigued by animals scales, as these provide the best trade-off between protection and mobility. Current state-of-the-art body protectors are rigid, bulky and limit mobility. This limitation causes a great loss in agility, reactivity and muscle strength due to constant support.

With these findings, Natalie created a parametric algorithm to design mass-customized scale structures which protect the human body against sudden impact and hyperextension joint injuries. SCALED is a material solution which is flexible in one direction and limiting in another due to the interlocking effect of scales. This effect is controlled to a set degree through the geometric manipulation of each individual scale. This innovation allows precise protection of any body’s shape, any body area for any type of activity.

By combing parametric design and 3D printing, SCALED is tapping into the future of mass-customized manufacturing to meet the user’s exact needs.

Protection | Prevention | Prediction

Natalie’s vision for SCALED is to prevent injuries in the first place to enable our society for healthy aging by maintaining physical activity. Especially severe human joint injuries are causing long-term immobility and impact the everyday life by the increased loss of independence.

SCALED’s patent pending is covering the algorithm, manufacturing methods, materials used and application areas.

Target markets are medical rehabilitation, sports protection, industrial work-safety and defence.

SCALED is currently tested with international competing athletes in the UK.

SCALED won grant funding and support from the MedTech SuperConnector in 2020 and 2021, a RedDot Award 2021 in ’Bionics’, is longlisted for the DEZEEN award 2021, was finalist at the Mayor’s of London Entrepreneurship competition 2021 and is now joining the Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Commission 1851.

The company is now focused on business development and gaining new partnerships to help test the innovation. Through design iterations and key insights SCALED is planning to launch their first product over the course of the RAEng 1851 Enterprise Fellowship.