Intelligent Seating Design

About the project

The aim of this project is to develop an expert system which incorporates knowledge-based engineering and which will integrate the special seating and wheelchair system design into a single computer model. The application will guide the operator through the different stages of special seat manufacture and give insights into the ways in which seat design can be improved.

The objective is to develop a comprehensive knowledge database consisting of engineering and experiential rules related to special seating design, and to investigate the generic seat contour shape modification techniques for clients with various muscular skeletal problems.


Knowledge based engineering applied to the creation of custom moulded special seats to meet the clinical, functional and social needs of severely disabled patients


Background

Prolonged wheelchair use puts the user at risk of acquiring sitting-induced pressure sores and posture-induced musculo-skeletal damage.

Body-contoured special seats are designed to manage pressure and posture by appropriately distributing the forces experienced by the wheelchair user over the body-seat interface. Traditional methods of customised seat design and manufacture are labour-intensive and heavily reliant on the skill of the clinician.

An expert system with knowledge-based engineering at its core will integrate the special seating and wheelchair system design process into a single computer model.

The application will guide the engineer through the different stages of special seat manufacture and utilise artificial intelligence to create new insights into the ways in which the quality-of-life of wheelchair users and their carers can be improved.

The research project is funded by the EPSRC and the Cardiff & Vale NHS Trust.

Research Team