The smart mattress-cover demonstrator features an array of several hundred flexible printed pressure sensors from InnovationLab integrated with health-monitoring software from Bitquadrat...
A Heidelberg, Germany, based lab specializing in printed and organic electronics has demonstrated a smart mattress cover which will help hospitals and care homes to continually monitor patients in real-time and reduce the risk of developing pressure ulcers.
According to InnovationLab, which provides research as well as custom hardware/software development and manufacturing infrastructure for printed electronics, with a particular focus on flexible pressure sensors, its smart mattress cover could reduce by up to 88% the risk of developing decubitus ulcers, the potentially life-threatening pressure ulcers that affect up to 2.5 million hospital patients in the U.S. annually.
Combining InnovationLab’s flexible printed sensors with specialized health-monitoring software from Bitquadrat, the new platform conducts personalized, real-time risk-assessment of pressure ulcers—providing a very efficient way to inform nurses and other caregivers when patients require repositioning on their mattress.
The smart mattress-cover demonstrator features an array of several hundred flexible printed pressure sensors from InnovationLab integrated with health-monitoring software from Bitquadrat, which uses machine learning (ML)/artificial intelligence (AI) and real-time data processing. The smart mattress cover assesses the risk of pressure ulcers by monitoring the size and duration of pressure at each point of contact. This is a major advantage over smart mattresses that use motion sensors, which only detect when a patient moves and changes position but cannot detect the size or duration of pressure on the mattress.
“A significant number of patients worldwide will develop pressure ulcers, and global mortality directly attributable to pressure ulcers is rising by double digits, making this a very serious healthcare issue,” said Dr. Christoph Kaiser, head of Tech-2-Market department, InnovationLab.
“As a designer and manufacturer of roll-to-roll printed and organic sensors, we identified a market need where our technology can help—and then we decided to pursue it. With our ability to mass-produce high-accuracy large-area printed pressure sensors and Bitquadrat’s market-specific expertise in intelligent healthcare software, we can now deliver a cost-effective integrated hardware/software platform that vastly improves real-time monitoring of patients susceptible to developing pressure ulcers. Suppliers to hospitals and senior living facilities—as well as mattress companies and system integrators—can use our solution to build a new generation of smart mattress that will improve the experience of patients by empowering caregivers to provide better care through better technology.”
The smart mattress cover demonstrator provides the following benefits, according to InnovationLab:
“As a software firm deeply committed to a radical paradigm shift in the healthcare industry, Bitquadrat’s focus is to keep people healthier for longer, reducing the time they are ill to improve their quality of life,” said Andreas R. C. Diehl, managing director, Bitquadrat. “The smart mattress demonstrator exemplifies our philosophy. Combining pressure sensors with real-time health-monitoring software that leverages AI/ML for data processing, we’re now able to open up previously unimagined possibilities for the prevention of decubitus and other serious illnesses. And while the well-being of patients outweighs all other objectives, there’s also an economic benefit to preventing pressure ulcers because for every ulcer avoided, insurance companies can save tens of thousands of dollars.”
We enquired what was the path to commercialization. EE Times Europe was told by a spokesperson, “The platform that has been developed provides the ability to build a customized solution fairly quickly. All that’s needed is to understand from the customer how exactly they want it to work and then print it and program the software.”
InnovationLab emerged out of an initiative of Professor Claus E. Heinrich, a former member of the executive board of SAP, who established the Academic Council of the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region in May 2007. The aim was to drive the networking of science and business in the region forwards and to promote joint research activities. Hence to achieve these goals, the council supported the foundation of InnovationLab GmbH. The Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region and surrounding areas are home to a large number of well-known companies, universities and research institutions focusing on the development of the future technology of organic electronics. This enabled the formation of a cluster for organic electronics.
The lab provides tailored print solutions for its customers’ R&D challenges in printed electronics, based on its expertise and solid understanding of materials, processes and printing technologies essential for the development of flexible and hybrid electronic systems. Its partners from academia and industry include BASF, SAP, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and Heidelberg University.
InnovationLab said it offers a full ‘lab to fab’ service, comprising research and development as well as pilot and industrial production. For industrial production, it has a partner in the form of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, which prints sensors in three-shift operation at its production site.