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New Smart Wheelchair Cushion to Address Pressure Ulcers
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New Smart Wheelchair Cushion to Address Pressure Ulcers

The long-term effects of sitting in a wheelchair can be painful. People who use wheelchairs can get muscle deformities and even serious injuries. Wheelchair injuries and pains, such as pressure ulcers, normally hit people who spend a significant amount of time in wheelchairs. Bad posture is another major challenge for people who use wheelchairs because they are not able to change their sitting position.

Fortunately, an American University has managed to address this big wheelchair issue. This year, the University of Texas Arlington made a major breakthrough in the wheelchair technology space. A team of researchers from the University of Texas has developed a smart seat cushion that can help wheelchair users prevent the negative effects and injuries caused by sitting in a wheelchair for a long time.

How the smart cushion seat works

The new smart cushion seat promises a multitude of applications in the healthcare field, where it shows great promises in helping wheelchair users and patients avoid the painful pressure ulcers and sores.

The newly developed product has the potential to improve today’s wheelchair technology. Its features real-time pressure monitoring along with automated pressure modulation capabilities and a network of sensors. When a person sits on the smart cushion seat, a network of sensors creates a pressure map. Additionally, the sensors also identify the vulnerable areas where pressure relief is badly needed.

The automated pressure modulation uses the data collected through a pressure map to reconfigure the smart cushion seat to redistribute pressure from vulnerable areas and reduce the build-up of pressure on the wheelchair seat. This provides extra comfort for people who use wheelchairs and reduces the risk of health problems.

The research team has already demonstrated the effectiveness of the smart cushion seat technology using healthy volunteers with different weights. During the test, volunteers were asked to perform different seating positions. In all cases, the smart cushion seat quickly identified the vulnerable areas and automatically performed effective pressure redistribution on the wheelchair seat.

In addition to wheelchair use, the technology can also be used to address a major issue in prosthetics. The research team said that the technology can also be used to create prosthetics liners that adapt their shape to accommodate changes in the human body, providing a more comfortable fit for the prosthetics.

The team has already introduced the smart cushion technology at the recent ASME 2018 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information Conference.

Image credit: SAP TV/Youtube screencap

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