Who we are?
We are a team of five 1st year students at The University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Sciences and Technology "George Emil Palade" in Targu Mures, Romania (UMFST), studying Medical Engineering.
What inspired us?
We were inspired by our courses in the intensive care department at our University Hospital. We saw a lot of bedridden patients on ventilators who, besides their diseases, experienced bedsores. We, as Medical Engineering students, started thinking and designing beds and mattresses that would solve this issue and bring comfort to patients in pain. COVID-19 patients that are in a critical state of the disease, becoming bedridden, may benefit from our beds.
What does it do?
Our beds' main target is prevention, as our ideas bring more comfort into patients' lives. They help reducing the risk of other comorbidities besides COVID-19.
Our first bed
First idea of bed is, in fact, an assembly of a bed and a water-filled mattress. The system consists of the water-filled mattress made out of a thermoplastic elastomer which offers both rigidity and elasticity, the vacuum pumps for emptying, refilling the mattress and the wiring system that heats the water and offers the patient the ideal temperature and prevents sweating which is one of the main causes for bedsores. The mattress is sectioned in two parts, the horizontal one that never changes its angle to the horizontal and the movable one, sustaining the upper body. The movable part is made out of communicating water-filled transverse tubes that prevent the water from gathering at the bottom. The entire mattress is connected to a CPR system that uses two vacuum pumps in order to empty the mattress into a tank beneath the bed and refill it afterwards with the same recyclable water, at a high pressure. Bedsores are completely avoided because of the equally spread pressure across the body. In a PC simulation, water was drained out of the mattress in only 2.8 seconds, fast enough to perform the CPR safely. Due to the rigidity of the thermoplastic elastomer and its 25 centimeters in thickness, the mattress can support patients up to 200 kilograms.
Our second bed
The second bed we came up with is the bed that automatically changes the bed sheet. The bed is made out of three components. Two are static and the third one is mobile. The static parts are the loops made out of seaweed combined with cotton fibers in order to absorb sweat. Through a simple mechanism of raising and lowering silicone bars, a space is created between the patient and the bed, allowing the two rollers located on the side to rotate a lever and change the bed sheet which prevents sweat gathering and lowering the friction between the patient's skin and the mattress. This assembly can hold up to 150 kilograms.
Our third bed
Our third idea is a bed with robotic arms that are programmed to execute therapeutical movements on the legs of the patients to prevent the destruction of joints due to being stationary for too long. One of the main causes for the occurrence of bedsores is being static for too long and the skin being pressed too hard on the surface of the bed. The bed is designed with two robotic arms which have the same shape of the patient's foot. These arms function with the help of an electric motor , which makes the movements possible. The robotic arms will do elevation, rotation and adduction movements in order to let the skin breathe and take care of the joints. This bed can sustain weights up to 250 kilograms.
The beds' structures (skeletons) are made out of ABS anti-shock material. The beds' dimensions are standardised: 2200 X 1060 X 500/700 mm (with adjustable height). The size of the mattresses is 1950 X 900 mm. The backrest of the beds is movable, it can change its angle ranging from 0 to 60 degrees. The beds are also movable, using 4 wheels with Ø 150mm.
How we built it?
Our projects are designed in Fusion 360 and Inventor based on 2D sketches. Tests are being taken on simulation software to ensure that the physics in our future real-life projects will be at its peak.
Challenges we ran into?
We ran into physics errors and anatomical ones. Physics errors occurred when we were trying to find the ideal pressure in the water-filled mattress that could sustain heavy patients. Anatomical errors occurred when we were designing the robot arms that massage the body parts subject to bedsores.
Accomplishments that we're proud of?
We are really proud that our ideas look great on paper and everything seems to be working well at this point, we are waiting to see how the real-life model will come out.
What we learned?
Working on our beds thought us physics and enhanced our "out of the box" way of thinking. It even made us more unselfish and more sensitive to people’s pain and suffering because in times like these, when people are fighting against an invisible enemy and people are dying, mankind should learn that life will prevail only if we stick together, we fight together and we help each other, even from a distance.
What's next for NoBedSores?
We hope that our anti-bedsore beds will be a small step in medical engineering, but a large step in the humanity’s fight against disease and pain in the future.
We are looking forward to start testing out our concepts with real humans and proceed with the manufacture.