Intelligent adaptable surface with optical fiber sensing for pressure-tension relief

IASiS addresses pressure ulcer incidence and treatment and aims to develop and demonstrate an Intelligent Adaptable Surface for serving as the skin/machine interface in therapy beds and wheelchair seating systems. This surface is envisaged to be capable of redistributing the pressure, strain and shear applied on the skin. A controller and an algorithm optimizes the load-time curve as pre-specified by the pressure-duration threshold curve, thus protecting the tissues against prolonged and excessive epidermal pressure-shear. This will in turn prevent the onset or deterioration of pressure ulcers.

Diagnosis and prevention will rely on intelligent optical fiber sensing devices that can identify the values and coordinates of excessive epidermal loadings and will provide feedback information to an adaptable mattress or seat mechanism. This adaptable mechanism comprises of self-shaping elements and is responsible for relieving pressure and strain in a timely manner according to the information received by the sensing modules. To this end, IASiS intends to develop optical fiber-based two-dimensional pressure/strain/shear sensing elements and demonstrate their performance for the first on rehabilitation applications. It will also integrate the intelligent fiber-based sensing surface with the adaptable surface mechanism, and finally IASiS will evaluate the performance of the developed Intelligent Adaptable Surface through extensive Laboratory as well as Clinical Trials….

To this end, IASiS will proceed along three principal research and development lines:

  • Development of optical fiber-based two-dimensional pressure/strain/shear sensing elements
  • Integration of the intelligent sensing surface with the SAFE IAS adaptable surface mechanism
  • Performance evaluation of the developed surface in laboratory as well as in clinical conditions scientific and technological areas.

The design, integration and evaluation of such a surface require a broad mixture of expertise on a variety of cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art medical aspects. These include in depth knowledge and experience on pressure ulcer rehabilitation problems, expertise on optical fiber sensors and feedback control systems and, finally, biomedical engineering skills required primarily for validation through Clinical Trials.

Following this rationale, the overall IASiS objective is:

"The design, development and evaluation of an Intelligent Adaptable Surface for pressure ulcer diagnosis, prevention and therapy by means of its advanced sensing and pressure/tension relief properties.”

MedCom's mission regards the research and development of fiber-based sensing devices for industrial applications. Medcom will focus its participation on possible industrial applications of IASiS elements and will pursue efforts for defining a clear evolution path of the developed devices from research elements to actual products for industrial purposes. We will also work on the fabrication of fiber sensing structures relying on Fiber Bragg Gratings, on the development of 2-D and 3-Dsensor pads for pressure/strain/shear measurements and on the evaluation of the IASiS sensing elements in laboratory conditions.