Medical sensor solutions - Enabling a brand new type of motion control for quadriplegic patients with a custom solution

Key points

• Customer came to us with just an idea

• We specified a solution with the customer and developed a custom solution with one of our partner suppliers

• Final design has provided an entirely new form of control for mobility devices and given quadriplegic patients some of their independence back


Quadriplegia, the paralysis of all four human limbs, can have a devastating impact on patients, severely restricting their mobility and independence. However, one customer had an idea for a completely new type of control for mobility devices.

The customer, a manufacturer of powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters, recognised that quadriplegics had control over their respiratory system and wondered, could a powered mobility device be controlled by a patient’s breath?

Sharing their idea with us, we knew it could be feasible with a pressure sensor capable of accurately measuring low pressure. Working closely with the customer to identify and specify the pressure range, we worked with our partner supplier Honeywell to produce a pressure sensor specific to the customer’s requirements, capable of measuring pressure as low as 2.5millibar. With a sample batch of suitable pressure sensors provided in just a few weeks, the customer could produce a prototype.

Moving forward with the full support of Acal BFi

We supported the customer with technical advice throughout the development and production process, helping them refine the prototype to create a new method of controlling mobility solutions. Support continued during production, where we provided lean stock/supply management, ensuring the customer received components to order. Following the successful development of prototypes, a new form of mobility control – known as ‘sip and puff’ – was demonstrated to patients who had no leg or arm function. Not only was the design highly successful, but it restored their freedom to move and gave independence that would otherwise have been lost.

Turning great ideas into a customer success

Using our specialist technology portfolio and a pan-European team of technical experts, we have enabled thousands of designs to be realised, pushing many sectors and markets to new boundaries. The most important thing for us is to work with you to find the right solution for your requirements.

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Please contact us to discuss your requirements. We ensure your solutions are ahead of the curve with market-leading technology and total design support. Our competence centres across Europe are home to leading specialists in their respective fields, and we look forward to helping you with your next challenge.

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Creating custom solutions and navigating adding challenging connectivity to an application requires specialist expertise and capabilities. Our team of hardware design and software application engineers have extensive experience, ensuring we can bring your concept to life.

Covering proof of concept and feasibility studies for development, through to working prototype realisation and initial production management, our team delivers you complete project support.