Wheelchairs have been around for a long time. We're still determining how long.
"It is uncertain what can be considered the first wheelchair or who invented it," says ThoughtCo. "The first known dedicated wheelchair (invented in 1595 and called an invalid's chair) was made for Phillip II of Spain by an unknown inventor. In 1655, Stephen Farfler, a paraplegic watchmaker, built a self-propelling chair on a three-wheel chassis."
Chair technology has only improved in the last 400 years, especially after the invention of motorized versions. The ability to change angles and lift, move cushions, customize armrests, and other advancements have all increased the efficacy of today's designs.
Naturally, we can all agree that any wheelchair is better than nothing for people who would otherwise be housebound or bedbound. For instance, many people—such as those with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome—can walk, but it is tough for them. Wheelchairs provide a comfortable and accessible way to engage in the world.
However, despite the vast power of wheelchairs to change lives, they are not all created equal. A comfortable wheelchair is much preferred to an ill-fitting one for many reasons. An ill-fitting wheelchair can lead to trouble staying in the chair, pressure sores, and even more significant complications.
That's why, when it comes to comfort, a pressure mapping system wheelchair users can count on is vital. Let's look at how pressure mapping sensors are changing the game for wheelchair users today.
The main trouble with wheelchairs and wheelchair cushions today is that they aren't carefully tailored to the user. Every human is different, with unique dimensions and characteristics, including:
A comfortable and safe wheelchair must accommodate people according to their needs, which means one-size-fits-all is the wrong approach. To a certain extent, we can't blame wheelchair manufacturers for this: they can only modify chairs so much when making them en masse.
The trouble occurs when users get their chairs from clinics, and effort needs to be made toward customization and cushion selection. Luckily, that's a problem we can fix with a pressure mapping system wheelchair users can count on.
Pressure mapping uses advanced technology to accomplish a simple goal: figuring out exactly how and where someone sits in a chair.
How does it work? You lay a mat embedded with thousands of sensors across the chair's base, back, and sides, ideally with its cushions already in place. The sensors send information to software, translating it into data and a 3D image of where the highest pressure levels occur.
Professionals can then adjust the exact placement and composition of cushions and other devices using the data, the image, or both. This will keep the wheelchair user much more comfortable over time, leading to many benefits.
So, what benefits of a pressure mapping system can wheelchair users expect? Here are a few.
Even the fanciest chairs and cushions can pose problems for users. Sitting for hours—on an airplane flight or during a long movie—is uncomfortable and challenging. The same applies to someone whose disability keeps them bound in a chair for hours or days.
A pressure mapping system helps alleviate that discomfort by identifying where to place tailored padding suited to each individual's needs. The extra padding under the sit bones for those with a skinny rear end keeps them comfortable. For those with wider frames, adjustments to the side cushions ensure the user can sit comfortably without feeling restricted. Any tailoring will help—and the ability to tailor as needed can help even more.
A pressure mapping system wheelchair seating clinicians and users trust for one-time customization is good. A system that helps them adjust their chair to address different issues is even better.
Sensor mats can do that, helping them identify issues with more than one way of sitting. Some wheelchair users alternate between leaning back and leaning forward, for instance. Others lean to either side to relieve pressure in different areas.
You can customize a chair for different positions with a pressure mapping sensor mat. That way, a person knows how to adjust for maximum comfort when in that position, which leads to much longer-term use potential.
Pressure sores are a severe issue for wheelchair users, and it's essential to avoid them. Again, that's where sensors come in because they help pinpoint areas of high pressure that would otherwise rub against bony prominences and create bruises, lesions, and ruptures.
Pressure sores that are left untreated pose a serious threat to the health of the wheelchair user, which is why it's critical to avoid them. You can do that with the correct pressure mapping system.
Would you like to learn more about implementing a pressure mapping system that wheelchair users trust—and that makes them trust you more? You can say goodbye to inconsistent results with existing sensor systems because XSENSOR's ForeSite SS advanced hardware-software combo is here to help.
Our systems help you move beyond frustrations of the past: costly investments that don't pay themselves back, constant recalibrations, additional expensive testing needed, and quick obsolescence. The ForeSite SS Wheelchair Seating system is engineered to avoid these issues, giving you a long-lasting, reliably accurate, endlessly reusable system that requires very little recalibration. It would help if you used it repeatedly, leading to happier patients, a faster workflow, and better reviews for your practice.
Ready to learn more about what XSENSOR can do for wheelchair users in your life? All you have to do is get in touch with XSENSOR today.