B8: Ergonomics & Human Factors

DEVELOPMENT OF AN INTELLIGENT PILLOW WITH MULTIPLE FLEXIBLE ACTUATORS


Akisue Kuramoto1, Wataru Inoue1, Yasuhito Otake1, Sacha Krivokuca2, Tomu Ichikawa3, Hiroyuki Ono3, Naoto Sekiyama3, Hitoshi Kimura1, Norio Inou1

1Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan;
2Polytech Paris UPMC, France;
3Fujibedkogyo Co.,Ltd.


From the standpoint of biomechanics, this study aims to establish a design method of optimized bedding which provides the condition of comfortable sleep. In the present situation, for general users, it is not easy to find comfortable bedding without consultation with experts. In addition, the consultation requires several measurements and it takes a long time. This study aims to develop an intelligent bedding that automatically provides a comfortable position and pressure distribution. This paper focuses on pillow as the one of important bedding. A unique prototype pillow which consists of multiple flexible actuators is examined to investigate comfortable position and pressure distribution. The actuators are driven by air pressure and each actuator works as stuff of the pillow. Each actuator has two kinds of sensors; an internal pressure sensor and five contact pressure sensors. These sensors are used for monitoring the support condition of user’s head and neck. Because the internal pressures of each actuator can be controlled by the user, it is easy to find comfortable configuration. The error of the internal pressure was less than 0.5 kPa. With the prototype pillow, the contact pressure distribution is measured with several subjects in supine position under the comfortable condition. The result showed that the center of contact pressure was slightly located in neck side than the maximum pressure point (usually the back of skull). Because the prototype pillow can be used as a flexible pillow with automatic deformation, we developed a feedback control system. Based on the sensor information, the control system calculates target values of internal pressure and contact pressure of actuators to realize comfortable condition. The pillow system successfully controlled the center of contact pressure to provide target condition.

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