Funding: Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership
LC Seating ltd is a medical supplier company based in Grange, Co. Sligo. The company specialises in the provision of all types of custom made seating including carved foam, moulded toilet and shower seats, matrix, hybrid and modular.
PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED
The main problem addressed by this project was the difficulty in monitoring and caring for a large number of patients confined to hospital beds or wheelchairs. The main objective of the project was to develop a monitoring system to reduce and help eliminate the cause of pressure sores and to assist in the early detection and treatment of sores. The proposed system was designed for a large care home or hospital, with the real-time reporting tool allowing the carer to monitor and analyse each patient with individual alerts. The system notifies carers when patients need to have their bodily position changed. The advantage of the system is that it reduces the cause of body sores and consequently helps avoid cases of patient neglect.
WiSAR performed extensive research into commercially available pressure mapping/monitor systems and the typical materials used. The outcome of this research was the identification of several pressure sensor fabrics, which were then tested for accuracy and repeatability. The prototype consisted of the development of a pressure sensing mat, wireless data acquisition unit and a wireless base station. The pressure sensing mat was incorporated into an existing wheelchair cushion measuring 15” x 15” and provided a measurement resolution of 1”. The wireless data acquisition unit connects via a multi-pin connector to the pressure sensing mat. This unit performs the pressure measurements and then wirelessly streams the results to the wireless base station. The developed prototype can be used as either a pressure monitoring system or a visual pressure mapping system, each system using matching software. WiSAR’s role in the project was extensive, starting with the selection and development of the pressure sensing mat, display/monitoring software development, hardware and firmware development of both the wireless data acquisition unit and the wireless base station.
IMPACT & BENEFITS
The outcome of the project has been the development of a fabric based pressure monitor system. One of the most important aspects of the development is that since the system’s sensing element is fabric it does not affect the user’s comfort or the performance of the cushion. The prototype system developed has confirmed the possibilities and the restrictions associated with any pressure monitor system.