Kalogon’s good cushion for wheelchairs retains the stress off and brings in $3.3M • TechCrunch


Anybody who has to make use of a wheelchair usually runs the chance of incurring harm from poor circulation. Kalogon believes it could possibly mitigate this frequent however probably life-threatening situation with a wise cushion that forestalls anybody a part of the physique from being compressed for too lengthy — and it has already caught the attention of the VA.

Stress accidents are brought on when part of the physique can’t get sufficient blood to it and the tissue begins to die. Most individuals have skilled the beginnings of it, like one thing tightening round a finger and slicing off bloodflow, nevertheless it’s not all the time so exterior, painful, or apparent.

“Particularly if they’ve lowered sensation, nearly anybody who sits for an prolonged interval is in danger for stress accidents,” stated Kalogon founder and CEO Tim Balz.

Definitely the shift to distant work has everybody questioning whether or not sitting for too lengthy is damaging their physique ultimately or one other. However this goes effectively past a sore again; individuals who can’t rise up and stretch, or really feel the stress or ache that may sign an actual downside are susceptible to severe hurt. Stress accidents have an effect on thousands and thousands and result in the deaths of hundreds of individuals yearly.

The answer, in principle, is to cut back the stress on the varied components of the physique which might be most affected — basically the butt, thighs, and tailbone space.

This may be achieved by the particular person if they will keep in mind to “offload” by leaning this fashion for a couple of minutes to take the stress off, then do it once more on the opposite aspect, then ahead, and so on — and do it continuously. Unsurprisingly, adherence to this sort of self-care shouldn’t be significantly excessive.

Getting a sculpted cushion is a step up — you purchase an costly foam one, then have it shaved down or compressed to accommodate the contours of your physique. However Balz identified that this solely actually works for a short while — your physique modifications and the cushion doesn’t, so after a month or two it’s essential to customise it once more: pricey and time consuming.

Extra not too long ago there have been smart-adjacent cushions fabricated from a pair of interwoven cushions which might be stuffed and deflated in sequence, alternating in order that stress isn’t all the time on one spot. These could also be higher, however the issue with them is that they nonetheless enable stress to construct up in ache factors as a result of the world of stress discount is small. And as Balz identified, “the possibility of harm on an IT vs a thigh is like an order of magnitude distinction, so it is senseless to deal with them the identical.”

Kalogon’s app for adjusting the cushion’s stress zones.

Kalogon’s answer, a cushion known as the Orbiter, has 5 distinct areas, akin to the tailbone and left and proper thigh and butt areas typically. By retaining 4 of the 5 inflated, the consumer is supported adequately and an entire space is relieved of stress. Then a couple of minutes later it slowly shifts that stress to the following area, and so forth.

Right here’s a diagram of stress being redistributed from the tailbone area to elsewhere (darker and inexperienced means larger stress:

“While you sit down on it, we now have a primary machine studying algorithm that at its default settings does its greatest to accommodate your physique, however you may customise it to suit,” Balz stated, both utilizing a companion app or with the assistance of a caregiver or clinician. After setting its regular sequence, the cushion additionally screens stress on the totally different areas so it could possibly shift in another way if the consumer is leaning ahead or to the aspect for longer than regular (typing, as an example, or dozing).

When the cushion deflates the rear heart space, stress is diverted to the entrance, permitting higher bloodflow to the sacral space.

“By having 5 cells which might be independently controllable, we will transfer one by one and tune that motion — assist the physique however drop down one of many cells. In the event you look a a stress map, you’ll see that the stress drops under the generally accepted threshold,” he continued.

The entire thing is powered by an battery and pump unit that clips to the wheelchair, and has sufficient energy inbuilt to final for 14-16 hours at default settings (redistributing weight each 3 minutes). Customers have complimented the Orbiter as an enormous enchancment over odd or semi-smart cushions. One stated it allowed him to take a seat in his chair with out discomfort for 4 hours, which he hadn’t achieved in years.

You possibly can see it being arrange and demonstrated within the video under:

Regardless of the glowing critiques, it’s troublesome to show the efficacy of such a setup, Balz admitted, as a result of there’s simply not a variety of scientific information on it but. Whereas there are typically agreed-on useful practices like offloading stress, there isn’t some worldwide board of cushion testers that evaluates this stuff. Although the corporate has carried out quite a few case research with customers, there’s no massive examine saying the cushion reduces danger by some proportion. They’ll nevertheless say that it achieves an analogous impact to offloading, which everybody agrees is an efficient follow.

That stated, the VA took an opportunity on Kalogon in a number of circumstances the place there was severe danger or an present harm and Balz stated they’ve been very comfortable dozens of deployments. Whereas the outcomes aren’t official sufficient to be printed, the truth that the VA is ordering extra and dealing with them on a examine utilizing the system signifies confidence.

The cushion launched in February at $2,000 and is classed as a medical system that may be paid for by a wide range of means, although it isn’t going to be lined by insurance coverage or Medicare or the like simply but. That’s within the playing cards, Balz hopes, however for now they’re specializing in the “dozens” of VA facilities which might be actively recommending Orbiters. Naturally there are a lot of veterans who may use the product, and a VA clinician endorsing it makes it extra inexpensive.

Kalogon simply raised $3.3 million in seed funding, led by DeepWork Capital, SeenFundersOrlando and VenVelo, with further funding from Sawmill Angels. It additionally collected federal grant cash from the U.S. Air Pressure (make of that what you’ll). The funding will go in the direction of scaling the corporate and naturally assembly demand.