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Chula develops Novel Smart Hospital Beds

The Faculty of Engineering at Chulalongkorn University (Chula Engineering), True Group, and King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Thai Red Cross Society, jointly showcase 5G smart beds, a prototype innovation to prevent falls in elderly patients — in both hospitals and homes.

Falls are the most common accidents involving the elderly and hospital beds, posing serious problems for their children and caregivers.  This problem is especially serious in elderly patients with limited mobility who do not have caregivers at their bedside at all times.

Chula Engineering, and King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Thai Red Cross Society, have now jointly created “smart hospital beds” to improve the quality of patients’ lives and reduce the risk of accidents for the elderly.

“Current hospital beds are pressure-pad type consisting of foam and spring, and can only sense the presence of the patients on the mattresses. The alarm only sounds after the patients have already fallen off”, Asst. Prof. Dr. Gridsada Phanomchoeng, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Chulalongkorn University talked about the “smart beds”.

The keys to the smart beds are their 5G sensors monitoring patients’ movement on the beds while trying to sit or get off the beds. Warning signals will sound, so caregivers can come to their aid right away.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Gridsada, the head of the research team elaborated that the smart beds are equipped with strain gauge sensors to monitor the pressure points and patients’ weight.

The sensors would monitor the positions of the patients to determine if they are at risk of falling off. Light curtain sensors accurately and instantaneously monitor patients’ movements while headboard-positioning adjustment sensors monitor their gestures.

It was noted that all the sensors are connected and controlled by 5G technology. Processed data is sent to the cloud that is connected to the monitoring centre and mobile phones of doctors and nurses, so they can keep watch of patients’ movements and positions in real-time and can provide immediate assistance if need be.

Moreover, these devices were designed to be adaptable to a wide range of hospital beds. They are also easy to disassemble and install while being very affordable.

Currently, the Smart Hospital Bed innovation is under patent registration process with the Intellectual Property Institute. Chula Engineering and True Group are delivering these smart beds to King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital for field testing. In the future, they will be used in all hospital wards and will give all patients peace of mind.

More medical innovations from Chula

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, and Her Majesty Queen Suthida graciously granted an audience to the President of the Chulalongkorn University Council; the Chulalongkorn University President, and a group of university administrators to present a prototype Express Analysis Mobile Unit (EAMU), complete with lab equipment and a biomolecular analyser.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health presented the Permanent Secretary of Public Health with four additional EAMUs (bringing the total to 5) that His Majesty the King granted for use to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EAMU was developed by Chula Faculties of Engineering and Architecture in collaboration with Engine Life Co., Ltd., a start-up incubated by CU Innovation Hub, and a network of partners in both the public and private sectors, as a comprehensive mobile laboratory for the analysis of COVID-19 screening samples. The EAMU is aimed at people at risk in areas far away from hospitals. It will reduce the problem of sample transportation and wait-time for analysis results.

The EAMU has 16.8 square meters of utility area. Inside, there are four main rooms: Genomic DNA Extraction Room, Solution Preparation Room, and Analysis Room using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology.

Lab technicians can accurately, conveniently, and safely analyse the samples. Moreover, there is a changing room and buffer area for the control and prevention of pathogen leaks.

The unit is also equipped with the following equipment: sterilized chamber, PCR chamber, automatic genomic DNA extraction machine, PCR machine, a -20°C freezer, samples container, agitator, CC TV and automatic alcohol hand cleanser dispensers.

The construction of the EAMU was approved by the Department of Medical Sciences. Safe for medical personnel, the unit can generate test results in 3 hours and can test 800-1,000 samples per day, thereby helping to locate infected people quickly and increasing the efficiency in mitigating the disease.

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