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Cushion Designed to Prevent Bedsores

Mechanical engineering major Roza Anbari sits on the team’s seat-cushion prototype designed to prevent bedsores.

Mechanical engineering undergraduates built an experimental cushion designed to help people in wheel chairs to avoid getting pressure ulcers, commonly known as bedsores.

The team's seat cushion prototype is made of a series of air-filled pockets that inflate and deflate in shifts, so that 25 percent of the cells are deflating or re-inflating at any one time. When a cell deflates but others around it remain inflated, the person loses contact with that part of the cushion. This non-contact temporarily relieves the pressure and allows oxygenrich blood to flow into the tissues - an important step in preventing bedsores in people confined to their chairs for long periods of time.

The students created the prototype, with its air pump and pressure sensors, in the senior design course, MAE 156, under the guidance of Dr. Leonard Glass, the project sponsor. This is the same course that yielded the surfboard with onboard velocity sensors.

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