Anybody who has to make use of a wheelchair frequently runs the chance of incurring damage from poor circulation. Kalogon believes it might mitigate this frequent however doubtlessly life-threatening situation with a sensible 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.
Strain accidents are brought about when part of the physique can’t get sufficient blood to it and the tissue begins to die. Most individuals have skilled the beginnings of it, like one thing tightening round a finger and reducing off bloodflow, however it’s not all the time so exterior, painful, or apparent.
“Particularly if they’ve diminished sensation, nearly anybody who sits for an prolonged interval is in danger for strain accidents,” mentioned Kalogon founder and CEO Tim Balz.
Actually the shift to distant work has everybody questioning whether or not sitting for too lengthy is damaging their physique ultimately or one other. However this goes properly past a sore again; individuals who can’t arise and stretch, or really feel the strain or ache which may sign an actual drawback are liable to critical hurt. Strain accidents have an effect on thousands and thousands and result in the deaths of hundreds of individuals yearly.
The answer, in principle, is to scale back the strain on the varied elements of the physique which can be most affected — primarily the butt, thighs, and tailbone space.
This may be executed by the particular person if they will bear in mind to “offload” by leaning this manner for a couple of minutes to take the strain off, then do it once more on the opposite aspect, then ahead, and many others — and do it continuously. Unsurprisingly, adherence to this sort of self-care shouldn’t be notably 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. However Balz identified that this solely actually works for a short while — your physique modifications and the cushion doesn’t, so after a month or two it’s worthwhile to customise it once more: pricey and time consuming.
Extra not too long ago there have been smart-adjacent cushions fabricated from a pair of interwoven cushions which can be crammed and deflated in sequence, alternating in order that strain isn’t all the time on one spot. These could also be higher, however the issue with them is that they nonetheless permit strain to construct up in ache factors as a result of the world of strain discount is small. And as Balz identified, “the prospect of damage on an IT vs a thigh is like an order of magnitude distinction, so it is not sensible to deal with them the identical.”
Kalogon’s resolution, a cushion referred to as the Orbiter, has 5 distinct areas, comparable to the tailbone and left and proper thigh and butt areas usually. By maintaining 4 of the 5 inflated, the person is supported adequately and an entire space is relieved of strain. Then a couple of minutes later it slowly shifts that strain to the subsequent area, and so forth.
Right here’s a diagram of strain being redistributed from the tailbone area to elsewhere (darker and inexperienced means increased strain:
“If you sit down on it, we now have a fundamental machine studying algorithm that at its default settings does its greatest to accommodate your physique, however you may customise it to suit,” Balz mentioned, both utilizing a companion app or with the assistance of a caregiver or clinician. After setting its regular sequence, the cushion additionally displays strain on the totally different areas so it might shift in a different way if the person is leaning ahead or to the aspect for longer than typical (typing, as an example, or dozing).
“By having 5 cells which can be independently controllable, we are able to transfer separately and tune that motion — help the physique however drop down one of many cells. In case you look a a strain map, you’ll see that the strain drops under the generally accepted threshold,” he continued.
The entire thing 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). Customers have complimented the Orbiter as an enormous enchancment over bizarre 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 executed in years.
You may see it being arrange and demonstrated within the video under:
Regardless of the glowing opinions, it’s tough to show the efficacy of such a setup, Balz admitted, as a result of there’s simply not plenty of scientific knowledge on it but. Whereas there are usually agreed-on useful practices like offloading strain, there isn’t some worldwide board of cushion testers that evaluates these items. Although the corporate has carried out quite a few case research with customers, there’s no huge research saying the cushion reduces danger by some share. They’ll nonetheless say that it achieves the same impact to offloading, which everybody agrees is an effective apply.
That mentioned, the VA took an opportunity on Kalogon in a couple of circumstances the place there was critical danger or an present damage and Balz mentioned they’ve been very completely satisfied dozens of deployments. Whereas 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 gadget signifies confidence.
The cushion launched in February at $2,000 and is classed as a medical gadget that may be paid for by quite a lot of means, although it isn’t going to be lined 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 can be actively recommending Orbiters. Naturally there are various veterans who may use the product, and a VA clinician endorsing it makes it extra inexpensive.
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 Pressure (make of that what you’ll). The funding will go in the direction of scaling the corporate and naturally assembly demand.