Intellectual Property Licensing

Continuous Wave Cushioned Support

Hill Engineering has spent several years developing a comfortable, pressure-reducing seat cushion.  It is pneumatically active and uses very little power because it supports a seated person using a combination of foam and vacuum.  The cushion consists of an array of open cell foam blocks encapsulated in air-impermeable sleeves. With serial application of vacuum, the individual cells collapse and are pulled away from the seated person.  When vacuum is removed the cells are open to atmospheric pressure and re-inflate.

Using a pressure mapping system, we can demonstrate that pressure is relieved on the skin when the cells collapse under vacuum.  Sometimes the cells are completely removed from the surface of the sitter to relieve pressure:

The heart of the seat is a battery powered vacuum pump and rotary valve (see left) that controls collapsing and reinflating of cells. The seat consumes a small amount of power (<10W) because the foam of the seat supports the sitter and the vacuum is employed periodically only to evacuate two cells. An embedded on/off switch determines when the seat is occupied to further extend battery life.

Our current prototype (see right) is an ergonomic task chair that has been modified with a new seat pan.  The battery box, pump, and valve are secured under the pan for easy mobility.  Other applications include mattresses, automotive, aircraft, and theater seating.

Please contact us with your interest in this innovative technology.