Anyone who has to make use of a wheelchair frequently runs the danger of incurring harm from poor circulation. Kalogon believes it may well mitigate this frequent however probably life-threatening situation with a wise cushion that forestalls anyone a part of the physique from being compressed for too lengthy — and it has already caught the attention of the VA.
Pressure accidents are brought about when part of the physique can’t get sufficient blood to it and the tissue begins to die. Most folks have skilled the beginnings of it, like one thing tightening round a finger and reducing off bloodflow, nevertheless it’s not all the time 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,” mentioned 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 indirectly or one other. But this goes properly past a sore again; individuals who can’t rise up and stretch, or really feel the stress or ache which may sign an actual downside are susceptible to critical hurt. Pressure accidents have an effect on tens of millions and result in the deaths of 1000’s of individuals yearly.
The resolution, in principle, is to scale back the stress on the varied components of the physique which might be most affected — primarily the butt, thighs, and tailbone space.
This might be accomplished by the individual if they will bear in mind to “offload” by leaning this manner for a couple of minutes to take the stress off, then do it once more on the opposite aspect, then ahead, and so on — and do it always. Unsurprisingly, adherence to this type of self-care just isn’t significantly 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 time — your physique adjustments and the cushion doesn’t, so after a month or two you might want to customise it once more: expensive and time consuming.
More not too long ago there have been smart-adjacent cushions product of a pair of interwoven cushions which might be stuffed and deflated in sequence, alternating in order that stress isn’t all the time on one spot. These could also be higher, however the issue with them is that they nonetheless permit stress to construct up in ache factors as a result of the realm of stress 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 consumer is supported adequately and a complete space is relieved of stress. Then a couple of minutes later it slowly shifts that stress to the subsequent area, and so forth.
Here’s a diagram of stress being redistributed from the tailbone area to elsewhere (darker and inexperienced means greater stress:
“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 mentioned, both utilizing a companion app or with the assistance of a caregiver or clinician. After setting its regular sequence, the cushion additionally screens stress on the totally different areas so it may well shift in another way if the consumer is leaning ahead or to the aspect for longer than ordinary (typing, for example, or dozing).
“By having 5 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 a a pressure map, you’ll see that the pressure drops below the commonly accepted threshold,” he continued.
The entire factor is powered by an battery and pump unit that clips to the wheelchair, and has sufficient energy in-built to final for 14-16 hours at default settings (redistributing weight each 3 minutes). Users have complimented the Orbiter as an enormous enchancment over atypical or semi-smart cushions. One mentioned it allowed him to sit down in his chair with out discomfort for 4 hours, which he hadn’t accomplished in years.
You can see it being arrange and demonstrated within 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 a whole lot of medical knowledge on it but. While there are usually agreed-on useful practices like offloading stress, there isn’t some worldwide board of cushion testers that evaluates this stuff. Though the corporate has carried out quite a few case research with customers, there’s no huge research saying the cushion reduces danger by some proportion. They can nonetheless say that it achieves an analogous impact to offloading, which everybody agrees is an effective observe.
That mentioned, the VA took an opportunity on Kalogon in a couple of circumstances the place there was critical danger or an present harm and Balz mentioned they’ve been very completely satisfied dozens of deployments. While the outcomes aren’t official sufficient to be printed, the truth that the VA is ordering extra and dealing with them on a research utilizing the machine signifies confidence.
The cushion launched in February at $2,000 and is classed as a medical machine that may be paid for by quite a lot of means, although it isn’t going to be coated by insurance coverage or Medicare or the like simply but. That’s within the playing cards, Balz hopes, however for now they’re specializing in the “dozens” of VA facilities which might be actively recommending Orbiters. Naturally there are various veterans who might use the product, and a VA clinician endorsing it makes it extra reasonably priced.
Kalogon simply raised $3.3 million in seed funding, led by DeepWork Capital, SeenFundersOrlando and VenVelo, with further funding from Sawmill Angels. It additionally collected federal grant cash from the U.S. Air Force (make of that what you’ll). The funding will go in the direction of scaling the corporate and naturally assembly demand.