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A system for the analysis of seat support surfaces using surface shape control and simultaneous measurement of applied pressures

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6 Author(s)
D. M. Brienza ; Dept. of Rehabilitation Sci. & Technol., Pittsburgh Univ., PA, USA ; K. C. Chung ; C. E. Brubaker ; J. Wang
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A system for the design and analysis of seat support and buttock tissue interfaces has been developed. It has the ability to control the seating surface shape while measuring the pressure applied to the buttocks by the surface. Pressures are measured over an 11×12 rectangular array of support elements using silicon pressure sensors mounted in a swiveling head atop each support element. Control of surface shape is mediated by selective linear translation of the support elements along their respective vertical axes. Closed-loop control of the system allows for the dynamic formulation of a support surface on the basis of programmable criteria. The system is intended to function as a research tool to facilitate the study of the relationships between support surface shape and interface pressure, and support surface shape and soft tissue distortion. The purpose of this paper is to present the system instrumentation and the rationale behind its design and development. The paper also presents the results of several tests to evaluate the accuracy and performance of the system. This evaluation included a pilot study on 10 able-bodied subjects. The results of these system evaluations indicate that the system is capable of making repeatable and precise measurements of pressure and surface element position and can formulate support surface shapes that satisfy specified optimization criteria

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Rehabilitation Engineering  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 2 )