The motivation for our project came after we discussed with several patients of the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation  about some of the common problems that they faced in every day life.  Of the many problems that came up, the issue of pressure sores (commonly referred to as bed sores) happened to be one of them.  The fact that the problem was not only difficult to address but was also exceedingly more expensive as the technology for it improved made it a good area for us to try to improve upon.  Many different approaches have been taken to try to address the issue of pressure sores but so far no single solution seems to work 100% of the time.  Past works have found that the proper solution differs from patient to patient.  Some may require a reactive environment (where the pressures of the different areas of the cushion change in accordance to the adjustments of the patient) while some require a more active environment (Where the pressures of the different areas  of the cushion are actively changing over time).  Our project takes these ideas and molds them together keeping an active environment that is reactive if a case gets too extreme in any specific area.

Our first prototype was simply a couple cushions with some tubes attached to pressure sensors that could record the current pressure inside of the corresponding cushion.  This helped us learn how to use the pressure sensors that we currently have and gave us a better idea as to what kinds of pressures we would be encountering in our experiments.  The second prototype was a 4 quadrant cushion with 4 pumps connected to it.  Since we had no solenoid valves to prevent air from leaking the pumps were constantly on and the program simply checked if a pressure was too high or too low and adjusted to that.

Prototype I

Prototype II