LifterMate: Assistive Technology for wheelchair-toilet-bathtub-bed transfers

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R43HD056605-01
Agency Tracking Number: HD056605
Amount: $99,942.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2007
Solicitation Year: 2007
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
CRITERION HEALTH, INC., 6321 Tanglewood Rd., Terre Haute, IN, 47802
DUNS: 800830981
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 (812) 894-2120
Business Contact
Phone: (812) 894-2120
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): People who use wheelchairs (clients), caregivers, and professional staff have identified the need for a lift device to help people in wheelchairs, who cannot or have difficulty transferring independently, transfer from a wheelchair into and out of a bathtub. LifterMate is an assistive transfer device that will help clients and caregivers transfer more easily from wheelchair to bed to toilet to bathtub. Currently available commercial lift devices become unstable as the client is moved outside the dimensions of the base. LifterMate incorporates an innovative stabilizing design that allows the movement of the client in three dimensions, which will allow movement into and out of a bathtub, onto and off the floor, as well as onto and off a bed under which there is no room for the base of current lifters. Current options for tub transfers require major installation or permanent renovation. LifterMate is relatively inexpensive, easily maneuvered from room to room, easily installed for single or multiple transfers, easily removed and relocated to new facilities, and appropriate for short or long- term use. Two design concepts for the stabilizer component will be evaluated in Phase I to demonstrate feasibility. Focus groups of stakeholders-clients, caregivers, and professional staff-will provide guidance on their concerns and issues on the usability of lifters, evaluate design drawings, and then evaluate full-scale models of the two designs. Bench models of the two stabilizer designs will be prepared incorporating the stakeholder feedback. Engineering analyses of the bench models will be conducted and their ability to move a 113 kg human dummy in a path simulating a transfer from a wheelchair into and out of a bathtub determined. Feasibility requires both stakeholder and engineering support for one or both stabilizer designs. Phase II will focus on the development of prototypes of the stabilizers and the evaluation of the units with human subjects, including, once safety has been demonstrated, clients. It will also include the design, development and evaluation of the arm and base components as well as their integration with the stabilizers. The preparation and evaluation of full LifterMate prototypes will complete Phase II and precede Phase III commercialization. Project Relevance The LifterMate, developed by Criterion Health, Inc., will provide a low-tech solution to a serious and often costly problem for individuals in wheelchairs, who cannot or have difficulty transferring independently, and their caregivers. The Hoyer Lift, which has remained virtually unchanged since its 1958 patent and Hoyer-style lifts are commonly used to perform basic transfers, but they are not able to transfer people in and out of the tub, or lift a person from the floor. Both of these transfers are common in everyday living and can cause serious injury to the caregiver or patient if not done properly. The LifterMate will improve the quality of life for both caregivers and patients with a creative solution to a challenge of daily functioning for people with disabilities and their families.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

Agency Micro-sites

SBA logo
Department of Agriculture logo
Department of Commerce logo
Department of Defense logo
Department of Education logo
Department of Energy logo
Department of Health and Human Services logo
Department of Homeland Security logo
Department of Transportation logo
Environmental Protection Agency logo
National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo
National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government