Athens, Greece – Glasgow-based bio-engineering group HCi Viocare is extending its push into healthcare & sports by developing new adaptations of their innovative technology. The company is adapting their sensor technology to be used in Smart Mattresses and Smart Wheelchair Cushions, designed to avoid debilitating pressure sores, and allowing patients and care givers more control over their lives.
The company is also developing a new cycling power-meter to help cyclists improve performance and train better. The new technology works via a network of tiny electronic sensors to send data back to a smart device or mobile for real-time feedback or for later analysis..
The new products will use the electronic sensors to monitor potentially harmful pressure and shear forces among bedridden patients and those using wheelchairs. Real-time feedback from the sensors will prompt the mattress or cushion to automatically adjust so that the patient is repositioned to help prevent formation of ulcers.
Further expanding its reach into the fitness sector, HCi Viocare is developing another adaptation leading to an affordable cycling power meter that will fit into a rider’s shoes and help cyclists improve performance.
HCi Viocare is in discussions with several partners who have shown significant interest in incorporating the new power meter technology into their products and in manufacturing the company’s new inventions.
Dr Christos Kapatos, the company’s Chief Technical Officer commented:
“We were delighted with the rapid and highly positive response to our Smart Insole invention – a reaction that has led us to expand our range of innovations.
“We are now moving forward with new applications for our core technology, and continue to seek industry partners who wish to commercialize this next generation of health and fitness products.
“Our Smart Mattress and Wheelchair Cushions technologies have been developed to automatically respond to the pressure feedback from our sensors, adjusting the way the patient is positioned so that pressure ulcers don’t have a chance to form.
“We’ve also expanded our focus on athletes to include a cycling power meter that can be easily placed inside any cycling shoe to real time power data to the on-cycle monitor for immediate feedback.”
Dr Kapatos added: “We are in discussions with relevant partners about the new products, introducing our licensing model and encouraging us to find novel uses for our proprietary technology.“
HCI Viocare’s technology is an important component in the battle to prevent pressure ulcers, an injury where the skin and underlying tissue break down. Pressure ulcers can have a profound effect on the patient, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain and in extreme cases the development of life-threatening infections, depending on the severity of the ulcer.
Pressure ulcers affect around 20% of people in hospital across Europe and can affect anyone who is immobile or unable to feel the pain and discomfort that results from sitting or lying too long in one position1. Pressure ulcers cost the health care systems in Europe up to 4% of their annual budgets2, while in the US, the cost of pressure ulcer care is estimated at around $11 billion (USD) annually.3
Using the same technology as their Smart Insole, (which monitors the stresses and strains on a diabetic foot, giving real-time feedback to the wearer to prevent injury), HCi Viocare has developed the Smart Mattress and Smart Wheelchair Cushion. The sensors in both products are designed to alert users to dangerous forces that could cause ulcers to form during long periods of immobility or unsuitable positioning. Crucially, the real-time feedback from pressure sensors in the mattress and cushion will allow them to automatically adjust the patient so that the risk of ulcers is greatly decreased.
The innovation in HCI Viocare’s platform technology is the shear sensor, which measures the ‘squashing’, rather than rubbing, of skin, and the ability to measure these forces very affordably. It is the combination of pressure and shear that is the root cause of pressure ulcers.
Importantly the Company uses readily available and inexpensive components. Unlike other sensor companies, there is therefore no expensive manufacturing set-ups or long lead times to market. The technology is patent pending.
The Company is in discussions with industry partners about licensing their technology for the healthcare market.
To expand its suite of fitness products, HCi Viocare is adapting the sensor technology for the development of a cyclists’ power meter. The power meter can be inserted into a rider’s shoes and relay real-time power data to the bicycle computer monitor. Cyclists are increasingly using power meters to track their output and improve their fitness, but the cost can be prohibitive.
The components of HCi Viocare’s sensor technology are readily available and inexpensive, which means their product will be appropriately priced to disrupt the power meter market. Many more people will be able to benefit from immediate feedback during their cycle or a more detailed report of their efforts after their ride.
The power meter, which will be sold as a pair, will be compatible with the market-leading headsets and watches and will also measure cadence, the speed at which you pedal.
HCi Viocare’s other fitness product, the Smart Insole, can help athletes to analyse their running style and optimise their technique. It can also help them understand when they are putting too much pressure on their knees. Where gait analysis requires specialist equipment and is confined to the laboratory, the Smart Insole brings it onto the running track for immediate and helpful feedback.
HCi Viocare is in discussions with potential partners to license their power meter technology.
For more info, visit http://www.hciviocare.com