People who have tetraplegic spinal cord injury may not always realize when they are developing pressure ulcers. Now, a research project in Europe, Pressure Ulcer Measurement and Actuation (PUMA), has developed a device that assesses risk for pressure ulcers and suggests strategies to address that risk.
The system consists of the postural control elements of a wheelchair and a dynamic cushion that pairs with “smart” underwear or shorts to measure pressure, as well as tissue viability, at points of contact between the user and the chair.
When a pressure ulcer threat is detected, the PUMA system signals a smartphone app via a computer embedded in the wheelchair. The app analyzes the data and suggests remedies to the user. For instance, the user might change the chair position or cushion dynamics, or apply electrical stimulation to the at-risk area.
To learn more about the PUMA project, click here.