People who sit for long periods of time, especially those who spend their day in a wheelchair, are at high risk for pressure injuries, also known as pressure ulcers or sores. Pressure injuries are at the highest risk over areas that are bony such as the tailbone and an important part of preventing pressure injuries is the use of a good pressure relieving cushion on the seat.
A team of researchers from The University of Texas Arlington have developed a smart seat cushion that can help prevent pressure injuries. This new product has real-time monitoring of areas of pressure; sensors built in to the cushion sense when a person sits on it and a pressure map is created of that individuals unique seating posture and areas of pressure. Once the high-pressure areas are identified the cushion automatically performs pressure redistribution for those areas and also periodically changes the pressure distribution so that injury does not occur.
The research team performed testing of the cushion on volunteers of different weights with different seating postures and asked them to sit in various positions. Each time the smart cushion quickly and effectively redistributed the pressure for each individual based on their pressure map detected by the sensors.
The research team also stated that this technology could be used to create prosthetic liners as wearers of prosthesis often find skin damage and breakdown along with pressure sores a battle. This technology would provide a more comfortable and unique fit for individuals wearing prosthetics.
To read more about the research and the smart cushion click here.