Help for wheelchair users during radiography

Senior lecturer Vijaya Kumar and course manager Tan Sai Geok took on the students' project and improved the product by experimenting with materials to make it lighter, among other enhancements, to help wheelchair users during radiography sessions.
Senior lecturer Vijaya Kumar and course manager Tan Sai Geok took on the students' project and improved the product by experimenting with materials to make it lighter, among other enhancements, to help wheelchair users during radiography sessions.PHOTO: MIKE LEE FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Two years ago, a group of Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) students noticed during their hospital stints that patients in wheelchairs had some trouble during radiography sessions. And they found a way to solve the problem.

During a typical procedure for a wheelchair user, a pillow is placed at the patient's back to secure the image receptor - a radiographic film that is used to convert the X-ray beam into a visible image.

Ms Tan Sai Geok, course manager for radiography at NYP's school of health sciences, said: "Because the pillow is soft, it isn't able to anchor the image receptor, which can slip. This can cause some damage to the film and the patient has to be repositioned.

"For regular patients this is usually a very quick process, but for elderly patients and those who are not as mobile, just sitting up can be a problem."

The group of eight final-year students designed a device which had a slot for the image receptor and which could be secured to the back and sides of a wheelchair.

After the students graduated, Ms Tan and another senior lecturer, Mr Vijaya Kumar, took on the project and improved the product by experimenting with materials to make it lighter and added a handle that can adjust the height of the image receptor for different patients.

The prototype, known as project LePAC, was licensed to Fujifilm Asia Pacific last year. The company develops healthcare technologies and products, among others.

NYP also filed a local patent for the product in March last year.

Amelia Teng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 25, 2016, with the headline 'Help for wheelchair users during radiography'. Print Edition | Subscribe