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SUPPORTING GROWTH.

Static physiotherapy can be uncomfortable for adults--and for energetic children it can be even harder. "Children by nature like to move," says Sheana Yu, founder and GEO of Aergo

The start-up's creation is a 'posture support system' that attaches to wheelchairs and other seats. It automatically adjusts to young users' shifting positions, providing dynamic support and keeping them in healthy postures. Patients will no longer need physiotherapists to frequently reposition them in uncomfortable static supports, says Yu, who was treated for scoliosis after a childhood accident.

The design engineer and entrepreneur recently highlighted her work at the Royal Academy of Engineering's Enterprise Hub annual showcase, and aims to launch the device by the end of the year.

Self-adjusting cushions

The Aergo's posture management relies on self-adjusting cushions, which contain pressure-sensitive air cells. When the system senses a shift in posture--the user leaning to pick something up, for example--the device allows the movement, then inflates or deflates the patented cells to return them to the original prescribed alignment. The system "hugs you into healthy postures," says Yu.

Beyond disability

The device is compatible with most wheelchairs, says Yu, and the team is working with manufacturers to ensure connections are safe and accurate. It is designed to transfer to other seating such as armchairs and dining chairs. The device could also help relieve pressure for elderly users or prevent back pain for office workers.

The luxury of choice

Able-bodied people can choose from massive catalogues of furniture but people with disabilities often have to go with the best or most affordable device for their condition--regardless of how clinical and ugly it looks. Aergo upholstery is customisable to users' preferences and cushions are designed to hide some of the mechanics. The aim is to remove signs of a medical device--and reduce stigma in the process.

In control

Therapists use the remote control to set up baseline parameters, prescribing optimum inflation settings. Aergo hopes to build up a 'postural database' from early users and use machine learning to inform the best support.

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Title Annotation:Reaction
Author:Yu, Sheana
Publication:Professional Engineering Magazine
Date:Jul 1, 2019
Words:338
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