Anyone who has to make use of a wheelchair recurrently runs the threat of incurring harm from poor circulation. Kalogon believes it will possibly mitigate this widespread however probably life-threatening situation with a smart cushion that stops anyone a part of the physique from being compressed for too lengthy — and it has already caught the eye of the VA.
Pressure accidents are precipitated when part of the physique can’t get sufficient blood to it and the tissue begins to die. Most individuals have skilled the beginnings of it, like one thing tightening round a finger and reducing off bloodflow, however it’s not at all times so exterior, painful or apparent.
“Especially if they have reduced sensation, just about anyone who sits for an extended period is at risk for pressure injuries,” stated Kalogon founder and CEO Tim Balz.
Certainly the shift to distant work has everybody questioning whether or not sitting for too lengthy is damaging their physique in a way or one other. But this goes nicely past a sore again; individuals who can’t rise up and stretch, or really feel the pressure or ache which may sign an actual downside, are prone to severe hurt. Pressure accidents have an effect on tens of millions and result in the deaths of hundreds of individuals yearly.
The resolution, in concept, is to scale back the pressure on the numerous elements of the physique which can be most affected — primarily the butt, thighs and tailbone space.
This could be executed by the individual if they will bear in mind to “offload” by leaning this manner for a couple of minutes to take the pressure off, then do it once more on the different facet, then ahead, and so forth. — and do it continually. Unsurprisingly, adherence to this type of self-care isn’t notably excessive.
Getting a sculpted cushion is a step up — you purchase an costly foam one, then have it shaved down or compressed to accommodate the contours of your physique. But Balz identified that this solely actually works for a short while — your physique adjustments and the cushion doesn’t, so after a month or two it is advisable customise it once more: pricey and time-consuming.
More just lately there have been smart-adjacent cushions made from a pair of interwoven cushions which can be crammed and deflated in sequence, alternating in order that pressure isn’t at all times on one spot. These could also be higher, however the downside with them is that they nonetheless enable pressure to construct up in ache factors as a result of the space of pressure discount is small. And as Balz identified, “the chance of injury on an IT vs a thigh is like an order of magnitude difference, so it makes no sense to treat them the same.”
Kalogon’s resolution, a cushion known as the Orbiter, has 5 distinct areas, comparable to the tailbone and left and proper thigh and butt areas usually. By holding 4 of the 5 inflated, the person is supported adequately and a complete space is relieved of pressure. Then a couple of minutes later it slowly shifts that pressure to the subsequent area, and so on.
Here’s a diagram of pressure being redistributed from the tailbone area to elsewhere (darker and inexperienced means larger pressure):
“When you sit down on it, we have a basic machine learning algorithm that at its default settings does its best to accommodate your body, but you can customize it to fit,” Balz stated, both utilizing a companion app or with the assist of a caregiver or clinician. After setting its regular sequence, the cushion additionally displays pressure on the completely different areas so it will possibly shift in another way if the person is leaning ahead or to the facet for longer than traditional (typing, for occasion, or dozing).
“By having five cells that are independently controllable, we can move one at a time and tune that movement — support the body but drop down one of the cells. If you look at a pressure map, you’ll see that the pressure drops below the commonly accepted threshold,” he continued.
The entire factor is powered by a battery and pump unit that clips to the wheelchair, and has sufficient energy constructed in to final for 14-16 hours at default settings (redistributing weight each three minutes). Users have complimented the Orbiter as an enormous enchancment over unusual or semi-smart cushions. One stated it allowed him to sit down in his chair with out discomfort for 4 hours, which he hadn’t executed in years.
You can see it being arrange and demonstrated in the video under:
Despite the glowing opinions, it’s tough to show the efficacy of one of these setup, Balz admitted, as a result of there’s simply not lots of medical knowledge on it but. While there are usually agreed-on useful practices like offloading pressure, there isn’t some worldwide board of cushion testers that evaluates this stuff. Though the firm has carried out quite a few case research with customers, there’s no huge examine saying the cushion reduces threat by some proportion. They can, nevertheless, say that it achieves the same impact to offloading, which everybody agrees is an effective observe.
That stated, the VA took an opportunity on Kalogon in just a few circumstances the place there was severe threat or an current harm and Balz stated they’ve been very proud of dozens of deployments. While the outcomes aren’t official sufficient to be printed, the incontrovertible fact that the VA is ordering extra and working with them on a examine utilizing the gadget signifies confidence.
The cushion launched in February beginning at $2,000 and is classed as a medical gadget that may be paid for by a wide range of means, although it isn’t going to be coated by insurance coverage or Medicare or the like simply but. That’s in the playing cards, Balz hopes, however for now they’re specializing in the “dozens” of VA facilities which can be actively recommending Orbiters. Naturally there are lots of veterans who might use the product, and a VA clinician endorsing it makes it extra inexpensive.
Kalogon simply raised $3.3 million in seed funding, led by SeedFundersOrlando, with participation from DeepWork Capital, VenVelo, and Sawmill Angels. It additionally collected federal grant cash from the U.S. Air Force (make of that what you’ll). The funding will go towards scaling the firm and, after all, assembly demand.