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Seat Cushion with Variable Stiffness Surface for Ergonomic Comfort


Project TitleSeat Cushion with Variable Stiffness Surface for Ergonomic Comfort
Track Code2016-040
Short DescriptionNone
Posted DateAug 24, 2017 5:07 PM


Sharon Ngwenya

Technology Need

The most important factor in selection of a seating system is maintaining proper interface pressure and stiffness across the cushioning interface. Most seat cushions and other ergonomic products use urethane foam or other types of foams as cushioning materials to reduce interface pressure. A major drawback of foam based cushions is that they degrade and become stiffer over time which leads to frequent replacement of cushion. Alternatively, air-filled cell arrays have been used to avoid stiffness change over time. However, air-filled cells are less stable and ineffective in maintaining balanced interface pressure. Thus, to achieve better ergonomic comfort there is need to develop long-lasting cushioning interface capable of generating variable stiffness and balanced interface pressure.

Invention Description/Solution

UTA researchers have developed an interface capable of generating variable stiffness across the surface of cushions and other ergonomic products. Variable stiffness is achieved by using an array of fluid-filled dual cell structures. Each dual cell structure consists of at least one primary cell which act as an interfacing surface with external object and one secondary cell which determines desired stiffness and internal pressure of the dual cell structure. Using fluid-filled cell structures, this invention can provide variable stiffness and balanced interface pressure across the cushioning surface.

Commercial Applications

  • Ergonomic products
  • Seat cushion
  • Assistive medical devices
  • Injury reduction gears

Competitive Advantages

  • Complete closed system, therefore no inflation or deflation required
  • Less reaction and recovery time
  • Stiffness change can be easily achieved
  • Ability to custom produce based on application requirements: type, condition, weight, etc.

Stage of Development


Related Technologies

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Intellectual Property

Patent Number Issue Date Type Country of Filing
62/428,613 None Provisional United States