Full Report

Smart Cushion

  • Brian Coffman
  • Jared Hess
  • Travis Whitty


The Smart Cushion was conceived specifically to reduce instances of pressure sores in wheelchair-bound individuals. Pressure sores are caused by a force (such as a person’s body weight) being applied consistently to an area of soft tissue, thereby obstructing blood flow and causing tissue failure. Because a great many wheelchair users have limited mobility, as well as limited sensation, it can be difficult for them to change position with sufficient frequency. 

To combat the difficulty many wheelchair users have in staving off pressure sores resulting from long periods of sustained sitting, the Smart Cushion comprises air cell quadrants that change pressure over time. While several other products on the market attempt to solve the same problem in similar fashions, the Smart Cushion is differentiated by its setup mode, which customizes the experience for each user, as well as what we imagine would be a much lower cost (competing products are priced at several thousand dollars and up). Each quadrant is equipped with a small pressure sensor, which in turn will be monitored by an Arduino microcontroller to ensure that each cell’s target pressure stays between narrow upper and lower bounds. Small compressor motors handle inflation duties, while solenoid valves deflate cells when necessary.

Completed Internal Components


Valves to hold in or release air.


Setup Switches