Thursday, June 23, 2016
Wichita State University's National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) is collaborating with local startup The Caregiver Co. to provide stress and fatigue tests on its new Caregiver Bed.
The Caregiver Co., based in Andover, Kansas, has developed an easy-to-install retractable bed designed to improve the comfort of care-giving friends and family of hospital patients.
Caregiver Bed developers wanted to ensure the product entering the market was of the highest quality and turned to partner Russ Meyer, who was familiar with NIAR's laboratories and capabilities through his time at Cessna Aircraft Co.
"In the aviation industry we are used to doing static and cyclic testing," Meyer said. "So we met with NIAR to determine what tests they could run for us."
NIAR completed static testing on the bed last year, and the bracket and cyclic testing on the prototypes last month.
Following successful static testing, The Caregiver Co. installed eight beds at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita and 11 beds at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Florida.
"The beds have been met with very enthusiastic and positive feedback from the hospital staff and caregivers who have used them," said Meyer.
"The idea for the Caregiver Bed materialized after a friend's father spent several nights in a hospital caring for his mother. My friend thought there had to be a more comfortable sleeping alternative for caregivers when he saw how uncomfortable his father was during that stay."
Meyer explains that some hospitals already use Murphy beds to allow caregivers to rest, but most weren't designed for hospital or commercial use.
"The Arnold Palmer Hospital already had Murphy beds in some of their rooms, and our beds were used as replacements for those," he said.
How the testing worked
NIAR engineers identified the key locations for stresses and strains on the bed and ran corresponding tests to make sure the bed performed optimally. Tests included static, cyclic and wall-attachment testing.
"We completed static testing on the bed to a maximum load of 1,200 lbs.," said Meyer. "The test was completed without failure."
In the cyclic test, the bed was opened and closed 10,000 times to ensure it would perform consistently and reliably for patients' friends and family.
Wall-attachment testing involved the design and test of the specially designed brackets to ensure a safe and secure attachment to the wall.
"The bed attaches to the wall via two brackets, and we wanted to know what it would take to pull the bed off the wall," Meyer said.
NIAR has worked with other companies from the medical, defense and petroleum industries in the recent past.
"We have a large variety of tools that we are able to use for testing, failure analysis and simulation, and we have been able to apply them to a broad range of industries," said Joel White, a NIAR research engineer who worked on the Caregiver Bed project.
Contact: Tracee Friess, director of communication, research and technology transfer, 316-978-5597 or firstname.lastname@example.org.