People who use wheelchairs are at high risk for potentially complicated and painful pressure injuries, also called bedsores or pressure ulcers. These occur when a person remains seated or prone for long periods of time, which inhibits circulation. Not always visible or obvious, pressure injuries can cause tissue in the body to become infected or die.
Enter: the smart wheelchair cushion, which aims to solve this dilemma and save lives.
“This is an excellent example of how smart technology can be used to solve a real-world challenge. I expect to see smart technology incorporated into devices like this becoming more commonplace over the next decade,” says Tony LaPalio, founder of Senior Tech Support, which provides remote and in-person tech support, training, and education for individuals and senior living communities.
The Kalogon Orbiter Smart Cushion, designed by former SpaceX engineers, is one of the most advanced smart cushions currently on the market. The cushion detects and targets pressure injury, modifying itself by providing weight shifts and pressure relief. It launched in February 2022 and starts at $2,000, not yet covered by insurance. Kalogon employs workers with disabilities to manufacture the cushions.
“Embracing certain types of smart technology, like this product, can provide a real solution for an immediate need,” LaPalio says.