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Open AccessArticle

Development of a Modularized Seating System to Actively Manage Interface Pressure

1
Department of Physical Therapy & Assistive Technology, National Yang-Ming University, No.155, Sec.2, Linong Street, Taipei 11221, Taiwan
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10617, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2014, 14(8), 14235-14252; https://doi.org/10.3390/s140814235
Received: 14 May 2014 / Revised: 6 July 2014 / Accepted: 28 July 2014 / Published: 5 August 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Sensors and Systems)
Pressure ulcers can be a fatal complication. Many immobile wheelchair users face this threat. Current passive and active cushions do reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers and they have different merits. We proposed an active approach to combine their advantages which is based on the concept that the interface pressure can be changed with different supporting shapes. The purpose of this paper is to verify the proposed approach. With practical applications in mind, we have developed a modular system whose support surface is composed by height-adjustable support elements. Each four-element module was self-contained and composed of force sensors, position sensors, linear actuators, signal conditioners, driving circuits, and signal processors. The modules could be chained and assembled together easily to form different-sized support surfaces. Each support element took up a 3 cm × 3 cm supporting area. The displacement resolution was less than 0.1 mm and the force sensor error was less than 1% in the 2000 g range. Each support element of the system could provide 49 N pushing force (408 mmHg over the 3 cm × 3 cm area) at a speed of 2.36 mm/s. Several verification tests were performed to assess the whole system’s feasibility. Further improvements and clinical applications were discussed. In conclusion, this modularized system is capable of actively managing interface pressure in real time. View Full-Text
Keywords: pressure management; pressure ulcer; posture support devices; active support surface; cushion; seat simulator; modular design pressure management; pressure ulcer; posture support devices; active support surface; cushion; seat simulator; modular design
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MDPI and ACS Style

Yu, C.-H.; Chou, T.-Y.; Chen, C.-H.; Chen, P.; Wang, F.-C. Development of a Modularized Seating System to Actively Manage Interface Pressure. Sensors 2014, 14, 14235-14252.

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