Shannon Mills, Scott Farwell, Aaron Hodson, and Shannon Sumpter
Pressure ulcers are a serious medical concern among members of the wheelchair community. Pressure ulcers are not only an expensive problem, costing the healthcare system over 9 billion dollars per year, they are also a potentially lethal condition causing 60,000 deaths per year. Pressure sores are caused through the stagnation of high pressure areas, preventing proper blood supply to surrounding tissues and as a result causing irritation and tissue damage. Most of the focuses in technologies to combat this problem are in wheelchair seat cushions which aim to help evenly distribute pressure to reduce the amount of high pressure areas experienced. While these cushions are great for spreading out pressure, they still allow pressure to stagnate in peak areas. There are currently tilt chairs available to solve this problem, which tilt the user back to shift pressure from their seated area to their back, however tilting the chair periodically through the day is inconvenient and often involves the help of a care taker. The mission of PosChair is to produce viable wheelchair pressure distribution system that will help to reduce the occurrence of pressure ulcers in wheelchair bound individuals, thus improving the safety and quality of life, as well as giving independence to members of the wheelchair community. We have developed a four-point piston-based seat that utilizes dynamic pressure distribution by continually and automatically shifting the user’s weight to move pressure peak areas to maintain proper blood flow.