Image Kalogon Orbiter

Calgon’s Smart Cushion for Wheelchairs Reduces Stress Raises $3.3M • Technology Flow

Anyone who needs to use a wheelchair regularly is at risk of injury due to poor circulation. Cloughan believes it can alleviate this common but deadly condition with a smart cushion that prevents any one part of the body from being compressed for too long — and it’s already caught the attention of the VA.

Stress injuries occur when a part of the body does not receive enough blood and tissue begins to die. Many people experience the onset of something tightening around the finger and cutting off blood flow, but it’s not always outward, painful, or obvious.

“Especially if they reduce sensation, anyone who sits for long periods of time is at risk of developing stress injuries,” said Tim Balz, founder and CEO of Kalogan.

Of course everyone is wondering if the shift to remote work is doing any harm to their bodies from sitting for long periods of time. But it goes beyond back pain; People who can’t stand and stretch, or who can’t feel pressure or pain that indicates a real problem, are at risk for serious harm. Stress injuries affect millions of people and lead to thousands of deaths each year.

In theory, reducing stress on various parts of the body that are most affected – especially the butt, thighs and tailbone area.

If you can remember to “offload” by leaning like this for a few minutes to release the tension, then again on the other side, then forward, etc. – and do it continuously. Surprisingly, adherence to this type of self-care isn’t particularly high.

A step up is getting a sculpted cushion – you buy expensive foam and then shave or compress it to fit the contours of your body. But Balz points out that this really only works for a while – your body changes and the cushion doesn’t, so after a month or two you have to adjust it again: expensive and time-consuming.

More recently there have been smart-adjacent cushions made of a pair of woven cushions that are alternately filled and deflated rather than side by side. These may be better, but the problem with them is that they still allow pressure to build up in pain points because the area of ​​pressure reduction is small. And as Balz points out, “The risk of injury to IT vs a thigh is like an order of magnitude difference, so it doesn’t make sense to treat them the same.”

kalogon app

Kalogan app to adjust cushion pressure zones.

Kalogan’s solution, a cushion called an orbiter, typically consists of five distinct areas corresponding to the tailbone and left and right thigh and butt areas. By keeping four of the five raised, the user gets adequate support and the entire area is relieved of pressure. After a few minutes it slowly transfers that pressure to the next area.

Here is a diagram of pressure from the tailbone area to elsewhere (darker and green means higher pressure:

“When you sit on it, we have a basic machine learning algorithm that does its best to keep your body in its default settings, but you can customize it to fit,” Balz says, using or with the help of a companion app. Caregiver or physician. After setting its normal order, the cushion also monitors the pressure on different areas, so it can change differently if the user leans forward or sideways for longer than usual (typing, for example, or dozing).

kalogon vs

When the cushion lowers the central area behind, the pressure is directed to the front, allowing better blood flow to the sacral area.

“By having 5 independently regulated cells, we can move each other and tune that movement – support the body but let one of the cells down. If you look at the aa pressure map, you’ll see that the pressure drops below the generally accepted threshold,” he continued.

All power is provided by a battery and pump unit that clips onto the wheelchair and has enough power to last 14-16 hours at default settings (redistributing weight every 3 minutes). Users appreciate the Arbiter as a huge improvement over regular or semi-smart cushions. He said it allowed him to sit in his chair for four hours without discomfort, something he hadn’t done in years.

You can see it set up and demonstrated in the video below:

Despite the glowing reviews, proving the efficacy of this type of setup is difficult, Balz admits, because there isn’t much clinical data on it yet. Although there are generally accepted support methods such as pressure relief, there is no international board of cushion testers that evaluates these things. Although the company has conducted several case studies with consumers, there has not been much study of how a cushion can reduce risk by a certain percentage. But they can say it achieves the same effect as offloading, which everyone agrees is a good practice.

Balz said the VA has taken a chance on Calogan in some cases with a serious accident or existing injury, and dozens of deployments have been more than happy. Although the results aren’t official enough to be published, it indicates confidence that the VA will order more and work with them on a study using the device.

The cushion launched in February for $2,000 and is classified as a medical device that can be paid for through various means, even if it’s not yet covered by insurance or Medicare or the like. That’s in the cards, Balz hopes, but for now they’re focusing on the “dozens” of VA centers that are actively recommending arbitrators. Naturally there are many veterans who can use the product, and the fact that it is approved by a VA physician makes it even more affordable.

Kalogan just raised $3.3 million in seed funding led by DeepWork Capital, SeanFunders Orlando and Venvelo, with additional investment from Sawmill Angels. It also collected federal grant money from the US Air Force (make of that what you will). The funds will go towards scaling the company and meeting demand.

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