… a highly customised feedback system for wheelchair users
sensomative wheelchair records and categorises sitting behaviour of wheelchair users. It provides specific feedback to support wheelchair users in reducing pressure magnitudes and durations towards preventing the development of pressure ulcers.
Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) who are confined to a wheelchair are at perpetual risk of developing decubitus (more commonly termed “pressure ulcers”), which typically results from prolonged periods of pressure/rubbing on the skin. To increase efficiency and adherence to preventive measures and to support wheelchair users in reducing pressure magnitudes/durations, the feedback system sensomative wheelchair has been developed. The system consists of a textile pressure mat to be placed underneath the wheelchair cushion, together with an associated smartphone application, and aims to provide feedback to the subject’s sitting behaviour, as assessed using seat interface pressure.
Together with a wheelchair seating expert (e.g. occupational therapist, physiotherapist, …) and dependent on the needs, conditions and skills of the wheelchair user, individual parameters for performing relief activities can be defined. After the initial settings process, the user receives a highly customised feedback regarding the regular and accurate performance of different relief activities. There is also the possibility to adapt the feedback/notifications to the personal preferences. Here, for example, notifications can be muted or solely received over a smart-watch in order to prevent disturbance to others, e.g. during meetings.
A user study has shown that sensomative wheelchair has been very well received by all wheelchair users who tested the system. All participants in our study were impressed by the technology and they reported increased motivation to perform pressure relief activities on a regular basis. The study has furthermore revealed that both the mean duration of the performed relief activities as well as their frequency increased when using the feedback system. Therefore, sensomative wheelchair has a huge potential for improving the wheelchair users’ sitting/relief behaviour and ultimately reducing the risk of developing pressure ulcers.