London:  A sedentary job leaves you with a nagging back pain. People confined to bed are even worse off, frequently developing bed sores. But now, thanks to a smart new cushioning, the discomforts of lying and sitting would be a thing of the past. It relies on an integrated sensor system that would equalize pressure selectively.

“Every person has a unique build, which must withstand differing compressive loads,” says Martin Woitag, research manager at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation (IFF) in Germany.

“Our sensor mat made of ordinary foam and conductive threads automatically detects how a person is sitting or lying, and automatically equalizes the pressure at endangered points by activating an actuator. One hundred measured points on a typical seat suffice to do this,” adds Woitag.    If, for instance, the sensors indicate that the pressure to the rear right while sitting is too high, then air is let out of the cushion at that spot, 'the cushioning is modified flexibly and selectively.' 

While comparable sensor mats already exist, their steep prices keep them out of the mass market. “Since all the materials we use are inexpensive, we can already produce single items for a few hundred euros,” adds Woitag.   Another plus point is that the weave of the textile employed is breathable and thus prevents moisture buildup. Present systems rely on film technology, which causes sweating.

(Agencies)