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Omnidirectional Hospital Bed Boosts Maneuverability

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 21 Nov 2013
Image: The SESTO development team and the system (Photo courtesy of the National University of Singapore).
Image: The SESTO development team and the system (Photo courtesy of the National University of Singapore).
A motorized, omnidirectional, easily maneuverable hospital bed will allow hospital patient transfers to be operated by just one staff member, thereby increasing productivity.

Developed by researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS; Singapore) and HOPE Technik (Singapore), the SESTO system consists of two motorized sets of omnidirectional wheels that are fastened onto either end of an existing wheeled bed. Using a control panel mounted on the back of the bed, a single hospital staff member controls its speed and direction. A safety feature ensures that the SESTO will stop all movement automatically should the staff member operating it leave his hand from the panel. The system also includes a flip-down platform that the operator can stand on, allowing them to ride along instead of walking.

The pilot testing of the system was performed at National University Hospital (NUH; Singapore) during September 2013, and initial feedback from hospital staff has been positive. HOPE Technik will be displaying the SESTO at the MEDICA Trade Fair 2013 held in Dusseldorf (Germany) during the November 20–22, 2013.

“The SESTO can move in any direction instantly and easily, without any complicated maneuvering, making it ideal for the busy hospital environment,” said Yu Haoyong, PhD, who is leading the NUS research. “I am happy to see my research work being brought to fruition via an interfaculty collaboration between the NUS Faculty of Engineering and the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. I am also delighted that my long-time industry collaborators, HOPE Technik, will co-develop and drive the commercialization of this product.”

“This research collaboration allows HOPE Technik, which is a high performance engineering company, to enter into the dynamic medical technology sector,” said Manolo Santa Cruz, an engineer working on the SESTO project at HOPE Technik. “As there is no other existing product in the market with similar capabilities of being both self-powered and omnidirectional, we expect the SESTO will generate significant international interest.”

Moving wheeled hospital beds from one place to another is a laborious and time-consuming task, made even more cumbersome by complicated hospital layouts that often feature narrow corridors, tight elevators, and crowded rooms. It takes a minimum of two staff to transport a bed: one at the back to push the bed, and one in the front to provide direction. A shortage of hospital staff is one of the common causes of delay in transporting patients lying in hospital beds between locations, which could occur in time critical situations.

Related Links:

National University of Singapore
HOPE Technik
National University Hospital


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