Bringing innovation to life through a partnership with the NSCC
The Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) came to us in 2012 with the prospect of refining, market testing and then manufacturing the design of a slouch correction device developed by students in its mechanical engineering program. The device appeared to be groundbreaking, addressing the number one challenge faced by local long-term care facility, Northwood Continuing Care: preventing back injuries due to pulling patients upright in their wheelchairs.
Once we saw how it worked and witnessed first-hand the excitement of caregivers who tried it, we enthusiastically partnered with NSCC to patent it and begin further testing in the long-term care environment and modifications based on user feedback.
The assistive device enables healthcare providers, family members and others to more easily reposition people who've slipped into an uncomfortable and all-too-common slouch position in a wheelchair by using the caregiver's legs and centre of gravity instead of his or her arms and back. Using this simple device essentially reduces the weight of the person in the wheelchair by 70%.
In other words, repositioning a 200 lb person feels like moving a mere 60 lbs -- without putting any strain on the caregiver's arms, shoulders or back.
Equally important, unlike pulling a patient back the old-fashioned way with your hands under their arms, the motion used with the device doesn't put any strain on the patient whatsoever. All they feel is a quick, smooth shifting under their seat, and voila. They're back in a safer, more comfortable upright position.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil, Matthew MacKenzie, MacKenzie Atlantic, Michael Simms, NSCC, and Sarah Young, NATIONAL, join for a thumbs-up after a product demonstration of the slouch correction device at the Premier's State of the Province Address, February 11, 2015.
This product is a promising innovation to preserve the dignity of people who rely on a wheelchair, prevent back injuries for those who care for them, and save already stretched health care resources and productivity lost due to short- and long-term disability claims. We're thrilled to be working with NSCC to bring it to market, and hopefully change lives.
The project has so far involved students in several programs at the NSCC from the Schools of Business, Health & Human Services, and Trades & Technology. The slouch correction aid is en route to commercialization and is at the design validation and lab and field evaluations stage (2015). This research is being spearheaded by Etienne Mfoumou, PhD, and funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).
The NSCC has the expertise and facilities in biomechanics ideally suited to validating and evaluating the design, which will be done in test and real environments. MacKenzie Atlantic, meanwhile, brings with it the experience and expertise to manufacture and market the slouch corrector.
We're thrilled to partner with NSCC to bring innovation to life.
“Identifying and harnessing opportunities has been a big part of MacKenzie Atlantic’s growth over the last 10 years. We don’t shy away from doing things a bit differently and we’re willing to invest time, money and talent to make things happen.”
Read the feature story about this innovation in the May 2015 issue of Business Voice magazine