OCT 07, 2018 1:51 AM PDT

Adaptable Prosthetic: The Smart Seat Cushion

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Developers at the University of Texas at Arlington have recently patented a smart seat cushion that utilizes changes in air pressure to allow the redistribution of body weight helping to prevent the painful ulcers that are a result of long periods of sitting in a wheelchair. The adaptable technology can be used in the creation of prosthetic liners to accommodate changes in body volume during the day and maintain a comfortable fit for the prosthesis; this is especially crucial since poor prosthetic fit can often lead to skin damage and sores in the residual limb of the wearer.

Image Credit: University of Texas, Arlington

"Pressure ulcers caused by long periods of sitting without relieving pressure at boney regions such as the tailbone, frequently occur in people who spend significant amount of time on wheelchairs. In the case of prosthesis users, poor fitting of the prosthesis leads to pressure injuries for amputees that can severely affect their daily life," explains Muthu Wijesundara, co-inventor of the technology and chief research scientist at UTA's Research Institute or UTARI.

"Our technology improves on existing solutions by including real-time pressure monitoring and automated pressure modulation capabilities to help combat the formation of pressure ulcers or sores."

Sitting on a cushion causes a network of sensors to generate a pressure map that identifies vulnerable areas where pressure relief is desired. Using this data, the automated pressure modulation reconfigures the seat cushion surface to redistribute pressure from sensitive areas. The seat cushion will periodically change the pressure profile to eliminate unnecessary pressure buildup over time.

Learn about the history of prosthetics:

"This technology has multitude of applications in biomedical fields," says Wijesundara. "We really feel that it shows great promise in helping patients and their caregivers avoid the pain of stress ulcers and sores."

"This patented technology will do precisely that, helping patients avoid added trauma and reducing the burden of costs associated with ulcers and sores on the healthcare system. A real win-win for all sides,” explains Mickey McCabe, director of UTARI.

Source: University of Texas, Arlington

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
NOV 24, 2019
Technology
NOV 24, 2019
How to design robots with flexible bodies?
Scientists at MIT develop an efficient way to optimize and control the design of soft robots in order to complete complex tasks. "Soft robots are infi...
NOV 25, 2019
Cancer
NOV 25, 2019
Using AI to determine which patients are best suited for immunotherapy
A new study published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research suggests that we can use artificial intelligence to help determine which people with lung c...
DEC 29, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 29, 2019
The Dangers of Space Debris Explained
Humankind has become increasingly reliant on satellites and space technology to conduct everyday life, be it GPS for navigation on the road or satellite in...
JAN 14, 2020
Technology
JAN 14, 2020
Can Virtual Reality Influence an Increase in Vaccinations?
Can a virtual reality (VR) help increase flu vaccination rates? Apparently, yes! A recent study using VR stimulation is aiming to show how the flu spreads ...
JAN 19, 2020
Technology
JAN 19, 2020
A Biosesnor Can Diagnose Sepsis Rapidly
Sepsis is the result of systemic infection leading to organ failure followed by death. It claims one life every four seconds and the primary cause of death...
FEB 05, 2020
Technology
FEB 05, 2020
Portable Device Detects Food-borne illness
 Foodborne illnesses kill 3,000 people on an annual basis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 48 million people...
Loading Comments...