RAMOT at Tel Aviv University Ltd.

autonomous pressure relieving aids for wheelchair patients

Posted by RAMOT at Tel Aviv University Ltd.Responsive · Innovative Products and Technologies · Israel

Summary of the technology

The present invention provide a seat cushion for an individual suffering from loss of sensation in the buttocks but having sensation in higher regions of the trunk. The cushion may be used, for example, in individuals who have undergone spinal cord injury (SCI). The cushion of the invention provides tactile stimulation to regions of the surface of the individual’s body where the individual has retained tactile sensitivity (e.g. above the SCI level) to induce the individual to shift his sitting position. The cushion thus provides tactile sensory compensation, by transferring the sense of weight-bearing pressures from an insensitive body site which bears bodyweight loads (e.g. a body site affected by a neural injury) to a different, sensitive site which is not necessarily weight-bearing at the time. By repetitively shifting the location of the tactile stimulation, the cushion promotes frequent changes in posture, which tend to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers.
Project ID : 8-2011-265


Anti-pressure-ulcer non-powered wheelchair cushion with means for sensory compensation to stimulate frequent postural changes in patients with paraplegia. The patient-activated wheelchair cushion shifts the sensory mechano-stimulations that provoke movement to an anatomical site which is sensitive to such stimulations (above the spinal cord injury (SCI) level).

Background and Description

In situations with lack of sensation, it is unnatural for patients with SCI to change postures. Psychological factors (embarrassment or shame of being dependent on a clock, vibrator or the like), particularly while in a social setting, contribute to the lack of cooperation to follow guidelines. A substitute to the missing sensation of discomfort (or pain) would contribute to making postural changes more natural for SCI patients and hence, would increase patient cooperation. Active cushions attempt to resolve the problem of lack of patient cooperation by cyclically inflating cells or pockets within the cushion to cause insensitive patients to periodically change postures. These cushions are expensive, noisy, require an electromechanical system which is connected to a power source (e.g. a battery) to work, and most importantly, they change the posture without any patient feedback


(i) Physiological - loads are relieved in sites which were previously highly loaded (as opposed to arbitrary sites)

(ii) Psychological - the patient feels that he or she are controlling the process, rather than being moved like an object

(iii) Technological – No external power source, cushion material completely self-contained

Patent Status
Provisional patent application. Ramot is seeking partners for prototype development, testing and commercialization.

Project manager

Rona Samler
VP, BD Physical Science, Medical Device, Chemistry

Project researchers

Amit Gefen
T.A.U Tel Aviv University, Engineering
Bio-Medical Engineering

Related keywords

  • Automotive engineering
  • Engineering
  • Medicine, Human Health
  • Diagnostics, Diagnosis
  • Medical Technology / Biomedical Engineering
  • Biology / Biotechnology
  • Diagnostic
  • Medical imaging
  • Other medical/health related (not elsewhere classified)
  • Medical equipment
  • Industrial Equipment and Machinery
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • medical devices
  • medical devices
  • Therapeutic Instruments

About RAMOT at Tel Aviv University Ltd.

Technology Transfer Office from Israel

Ramot is Tel Aviv University's (TAU) technology transfer company and its liaison to industry, bringing promising scientific discoveries made at

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