Able Innovations

Project 1: Evaluation of a test system to measure safe force thresholds on delicate tissue

2019 – 2021

Project goal: Able Innovations is creating novel, zero-effort technology that eliminates the need for human involvement in transfers of individuals with restricted mobility. Existing technologies used for transfers such as bed to bed or bed to chair require significant physical labour by clinical staff to move the patient into and out of the lift systems. The result is frequent and significant injuries to the staff and time off work. The current systems are also undignified for the patient being transferred. Existing lift technology can also cause injury to the patient because of the forces applied during the transfer especially for patients with delicate skin which can commonly occur through natural aging. Able Innovations has been collaborating with Carleton University to develop a “skin” force sensor that can measure the normal and shear forces applied by lift systems. This work has results in a lab bench sensor design and initial evaluation results showing it potential. In this project, the sensor will be evaluated in a research facility in a hospital to test existing lift systems and the novel Able Innovation systems. The goal of the work is to evaluate the performance of the sensor within the lift application and then to specifically assess the forces applied by existing lifts and the Able Innovation lift with a goal to ensure that the Able Innovations system operates within a safe range.

PI: Bruce Wallace

Students: Steven Cramp

Other Funding: AGE-WELL SIP and MITACS Accelerate


Project 2: Able Innovations ALTA Pilot at Bruyère

2021 – 2023

Project goal: Repositioning or transferring patients is a frequent activity in hospitals and often requires more than one healthcare worker. This is a problem because of nursing and other staff shortages. Also, the physical effort involved in patient transfers can lead to worker injuries. Some devices such as transfer boards and lifts can help healthcare staff in repositioning or transferring patients. The proposed research project will assess how these existing devices and a novel technology being introduced by Able Innovations compare with regards to the manpower and time needed to use them and their ability to prevent injuries as well as associated costs. This will be achieved by: 1) direct observation of healthcare workers using these devices, 2) an economic analysis. Because of the aging of the population and healthcare personnel shortages, our project could lead to a more safe and efficient method to transfer patients in the hospital and a reduction of associated costs to the Canadian healthcare system.

PI: Martin Bilodeau, Paula Doering

Students: Amos Buh

Other Funding: AGE-WELL SIP, OBIO


Project 3: Able Innovations Smart Transport Assist System

2021 –

Project goal: Able Innovations is creating a novel lateral patient transfer system (ALTA Platform™) that significantly reduces the risk of injury to staff and patient during a bed to gurney or other lateral transfer. This project will focus on a movement assistance system to staff to be able to quickly and efficiently move the ALTA Platform™ system within the hospital between rooms or to position it precisely for a transfer. The project will focus exploration of the motion assistance system design including key questions such as how a staff member controls the system, the need for multiple modes of operation (transport, positioning), adaptive/dynamic assistance level, steering and other directional control and braking assist. A movement system is required as the ALTA Platform™ platform will be significantly heavier than the traditional hospital gurney and it has the potential to be used in novel applications such as repositioning of patients including bariatric patients in bed which will require precision movements. A key goal of the project will be for the movement assist system to be intuitive for staff to use and understand (minimal training) while also being safe for staff and patient.

PI: Bruce Wallace

Students: Bahareh Chimehi

Other Funding: OCI VIP