'Intelligent bed' designed to prevent bedsores
By Ben Coxworth
July 14, 2011
Decubitus ulcers, more commonly known as bedsores, are a common and potentially serious problem for bedridden hospital patients. Staff are often required to regularly turn patients over in their beds, as the sores are the result of too much prolonged pressure to the skin, caused by lying on one spot for too long. Turning those patients over (especially the larger ones) can be physically difficult work, however, plus some facilities won't always have enough staff on hand to do the turning as often as needed. Swiss entrepreneur Michael Sauter thought the situation needed addressing, so he invented a bed that turns the patients over itself.
Known for the time being simply as an intelligent bed, the device is said to imitate the movements of a healthy person during sleep. It does this by logging the patient's movements as they sleep. If they've stayed in one position for too long, it gently moves them, via a special mattress that lies on a "joint-less but flexible slatted frame." That frame is reportedly made from "smart materials," the properties of which can be adjusted as needed.
The bed was developed through Swiss research institute Empa, and is now being developed and marketed by Sauter's spinoff company, Compliant Concept. It is presently undergoing field tests at clinics and hospitals, and should be available in Switzerland by the end of this year.