The wheelchair, when it first came out years ago, must have created a great deal of buzz. It allowed people suffering from various kinds of disabilities to move from one place to another. But these wheelchairs are not all that great in today's fast-paced world because they do not always allow the users to be fully independent in their movement. Due to this, various manufacturers around the world have created automated wheelchairs that can be moved with a joystick or even one's mind.
With such great innovations taking place, one would think that the wheelchair doesn’t have much more room to grow. But thanks to Gaspard, one mat might be all it takes to make the world's wheelchairs even smarter.
The Connected Mat by Gaspard
Gaspard is a French startup that is aiming to make life a little easier for the people who use wheelchairs. The Co-Founder of the company, Morgan Lavaux himself, suffers from tetraplegia and knows very well of the difficulties a wheelchair user can face. He found out that people who use wheelchairs over extended periods of time run the risk of developing bedsores and back problems because of their bad posture. That is when he decided to start developing one mat that would make wheelchairs smarter.
Get Notified of Bad Posture
The connected mat by Gaspard was shown off at CES this year. It looks like a simple mat but has smart internals that can inform the user sitting on it if they need to change their posture. Wheelchair users cannot easily shift in their seat and require external help in most cases. This is why they can develop pressure ulcers in their bodies. The mat helps them stay informed about their posture by sending notifications to their smartphones if they have been sitting in the same position for too long and need to shift themselves.
A Fitness Tracker for Wheelchairs
The connected mat analyzes the user of a wheelchair constantly. It can notify the users of weight loss, long periods of inactivity, and poor sitting posture. Understanding the fact that a wheelchair user may not be able to shift in their chair by themselves, the mat sends out these notifications to the patient's family or caregivers as well. In case the mat itself is becoming a cause of discomfort for the users, it can identify itself as a problem too.
The makers of the one mat that can make wheelchairs even smarter said that they hope to include more advanced features in the product at a later time as well. One such feature will be the ability to identify if the wheelchair has fallen over and to notify people nearby so that the user can be assisted. The Gaspard mat is slated to debut towards the end of 2017 and will retail for around $200 to $250. It is truly an innovative way to address a very valid concern that wheelchair users have, which makes it a very valuable addition to wheelchairs all over the world.