Monday, August 31, 2015

Review of Accessibility Innovation Showcase

The Sensimat cushion
For the last ten years, I have written about the annual People In Motion show. This year with the Parapan Am Games in Toronto, the Ontario Government produced the Accessibility Innovation Showcase Aug. 8-10 at MaRS at the corner of College and University. Just for the record, I took the bus and subway there. As regular readers are aware, I haven't used Wheeltrans for years. I prefer to take the regular TTC. There's a food court in the basement of the building so I had felafel for lunch. I wish there was an accessible felafel joint in South Etobicoke. The exhibitors at the show were a mixed bag. Several of the displayed products were in development and clearly not ready for the end user. Some are looking for financing and there were Export Development Corp. guys all over the place. There were other products that were not applicable and there was even science fiction stuff like exo-skeletons that are interesting but will never be affordable enough for most users. If some of these developmental products make it to market, I could write about them in the future. And to prove that, I'm going to tell you all about Sensimat. I first learned about Sensimat at the 2013 People In Motion show. That's when I first met Sensimat founders David Mravyan and Will Mann. At the time, Sensimat needed more testing and they raised funds on Indiegogo. Now they are ready for the end user and I am hoping that Sensimat will be a big success in the next couple of years. I liked Sensimat two years ago. It just wasn't ready. Sensimat is a cushion that goes on top of your existing seating. It automatically detects pressure points so the user can avoid pressure sores. I transfer in and out of my chair several times a day. So it's not a product that I would need. But it's a great product for quadriplegics who remain in the chair for long periods of time. There are other products that do this. But Sensimat is the first product of this type to use wireless and web technology. When you buy Sensimat, it comes with a mobile app in either iOS or Android and it comes with a webpage. The mobile app can be set to notify the user when there could be a potential pressure sore. When the alarm goes off, the user can shift position to avoid risk. This data is automatically compiled on the website so the user's physician can prescribe appropriate action. We all know that it can take a long time to recover from pressure sores. Sensimat is the best product I have seen to monitor pressure points and take preventative action. And Sensimat has been validated at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. They didn't have that two years ago. And they also hadn't developed the Android app. I spoke to David Mravyan at the show and they are in the process of getting approval from Ontario's Assistive Device Program. Once that is approved, it will be available through most wheelchair vendors. This is a big deal for quads who are on ODSP who can't get a custom made powerchair. Sensimat has the potential to save a lot of the cost of pressure sores. I am optimistic that it will be approved. If you can't wait and you need Sensimat now, you can go to their website and buy it for $299. That's pretty cheap when you consider what it costs to heal pressure sores.

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