Anybody who has to make use of a wheelchair frequently runs the danger of incurring damage from poor circulation. Kalogon believes it may mitigate this frequent however probably life-threatening situation with a wise cushion that forestalls anybody a part of the physique from being compressed for too lengthy — and it has already caught the attention of the VA.
Stress accidents are prompted 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 chopping off bloodflow, but it surely’s not all the time so exterior, painful, or apparent.
“Particularly if they’ve decreased sensation, nearly anybody who sits for an prolonged interval is in danger for stress accidents,” mentioned Kalogon founder and CEO Tim Balz.
Definitely the shift to distant work has everybody questioning whether or not sitting for too lengthy is damaging their physique in a roundabout way or one other. However this goes effectively past a sore again; individuals who can’t rise up and stretch, or really feel the stress or ache which may sign an actual drawback are prone to critical hurt. Stress accidents have an effect on thousands and thousands and result in the deaths of 1000’s of individuals yearly.
The answer, in idea, is to cut back the stress on the varied elements of the physique which can be most affected — primarily the butt, thighs, and tailbone space.
This may be carried out by the particular person if they’ll 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 facet, then ahead, and so on — and do it continually. 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. However Balz identified that this solely actually works for a short while — your physique adjustments and the cushion doesn’t, so after a month or two you have to customise it once more: pricey and time consuming.
Extra not too long ago there have been smart-adjacent cushions made from a pair of interwoven cushions which can 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 possibility of damage on an IT vs a thigh is like an order of magnitude distinction, so it is senseless to deal with them the identical.”
Kalogon’s resolution, a cushion referred to as the Orbiter, has 5 distinct areas, similar to the tailbone and left and proper thigh and butt areas typically. By conserving 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 following area, and so forth.
Right here’s a diagram of stress being redistributed from the tailbone area to elsewhere (darker and inexperienced means greater stress:
“While you sit down on it, now we have a primary machine studying algorithm that at its default settings does its greatest to accommodate your physique, however you possibly can 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 stress on the completely different areas so it may shift in a different way if the consumer is leaning ahead or to the facet for longer than standard (typing, as an illustration, or dozing).
“By having 5 cells which can be independently controllable, we will transfer separately and tune that motion — help the physique however drop down one of many cells. Should you look a a stress map, you’ll see that the stress drops beneath 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 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 carried out in years.
You possibly can see it being arrange and demonstrated within the video beneath:
Regardless of the glowing evaluations, it’s troublesome to show the efficacy of this sort of setup, Balz admitted, as a result of there’s simply not numerous scientific information on it but. Whereas there are typically agreed-on useful practices like offloading stress, 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 examine saying the cushion reduces threat by some proportion. They will nonetheless say that it achieves an analogous impact to offloading, which everybody agrees is an efficient follow.
That mentioned, the VA took an opportunity on Kalogon in a couple of circumstances the place there was critical threat or an current damage and Balz mentioned they’ve been very joyful 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 examine utilizing the system signifies confidence.
The cushion launched in February at $2,000 and is classed as a medical system that may be paid for by a wide range 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 can be actively recommending Orbiters. Naturally there are a lot of veterans who might 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.