Sensing Senses: Tactile Feedback for the Prevention of Decubitus UlcersBy Verbunt, Marcel; Bartneck, Christoph; Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback,
Publication Date: December 1, 2009
Article describes the development of a sensor mat based tactile feedback system for preventing decubitus ulcers in people with a lower spinal cord injury (LSCI). Decubitus ulcers, also known as pressure sores, occur frequently in patients with SCI as they cannot feel the discomfort that would urge nondisabled people to change their posture. The system consists of two parts: a sensor and an actuator subsystem which communicate via two wires. The sensing subsystem consists of 256 sensors that are connected into a force sensing array (FSA) on a seating assessment mat, which is then connected to a microcontroller. The sensors provide a detailed view of the pressure distribution on the mat, detecting the standard postures typically assumed by wheelchair users. The actuating subsystem comprises a chest-worn belt to which 16 vibration motors are attached; the motors in turn are attached to two LED drivers which are controlled via a micro controller. The micro controller in the sensing subsystem sends an alarm to the micro controller in the actuator subsystem if the pressure in an area of the mat exceeds a threshold. The tactile feedback belt then creates vibration patter along the chest of the user. The system was tested in audio as well as tactile mode with 26 volunteers without disabilities who wore headphones during the audio condition. Test results showed the tactile feedback to be a viable option to the spoken feedback. Implications for further development of the system, possibly as an interface for rehabilitation games, are discussed.
Published by: Springer Publishing Company (Website:http://www.springerpub.com)
Link to text: http://www.springerlink.com/content/y2g7162w4033817p/fulltext.html