Seating Coach

2014

The goal of Seating Coach (SC) is to facilitate power wheelchair users to utilize auxiliary seating functions for health management while preventing potential hazard due to inappropriate usage. The SC detects seating activities, analyzes user behaviors, and responds accordingly to provide suggestions or reminders. The SC is an intelligent system, integrating sensors, machine intelligence and user-friendly interfaces. It will help power wheelchair users keep on track with seating position adjustments to improve seating comfort, lower spasticity, reduce venous pooling, and decrease risks of pressure sores. It will also assist clinicians in training clients in the use of power seat functions to reduce the incidence of adverse events caused by improper wheelchair use. Positive impacts of tailored feedback and reminders were revealed in a SC efficacy study, but some usability issues were also observed. To ensure that SP-SC (SP-smart phone) can be user-friendly and well-accepted by the users, a usability study was conducted, and revisions were made based on the results and finding from the study. A revision of SC in the format of a smartphone app and strap-down accelerometers is being developed. It is expected be attractive to industry because it allows the SC to be installed on power wheelchairs across models and manufacturers with simple hand tools and without permanent modification to the wheelchair. Each combination of human, environment, and wheelchair will have its unique balance between how much the human or machine learning should dominate. Environmental and seating function usage data are being collected and analyzed to generate a generalized framework for describing context and human activities. The goal is to provide individualized support for decision-making.