John M. Wischmeyer


Presentation: 1:15 p.m.-2:30 p.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom



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The University of Dayton Design of Innovative Machines Lab (DIMLab) is working in the area of soft robot design. In prior work, the DIMLab has investigated accurate CAD modeling of the PneuNet actuator, proposed by the Whitesides Research Group of Harvard University. PneuNet actuators are mainly used as soft robotic grippers capable of readily moving fragile or asymmetrical objects. The DIMLab has started to explore the use of soft robotics in a variety of fields, from medical to manufacturing. One potential novel application of soft robotic technology is in the prevention of pressure ulcers. Persons with para- or tetraplegia, and many of our elderly, are more likely to develop pressure ulcers from being in a seated position for longer periods of time. An assistive device that can safely and automatically mitigate pressure ulcer formation is clearly desirable. This honors thesis will explore the design and prototyping of the “Derri-Air” pneumatic cushion, capable of sensing and altering the pressure distribution applied to the user’s buttocks. Be it noted that the honors thesis will not require human test subjects from outside the University of Dayton. When a functioning model of the Derri-Air cushion is developed, only students working for the DIMLab will test the device for comfort and compatibility. An important step in achieving a working prototype is preliminary research into the continued development of PneuNet-like bending actuators, including their design, simulation, printing, and testing.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Andrew P. Murray, Dave Harry Myszka

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stander Symposium project, School of Engineering

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Good Health and Well-Being

Design of a Soft Robot Pneumatic Cushion for Bedsore Prevention in Persons with Paraplegia or Tetraplegia