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What is Loop?

Loop is a low-cost inflatable wheelchair seat cushion similar to the best cushions available on the market. However, Loop is made out of bike inner tubes, a material both inexpensive and available anywhere in the world.

Why Loop?

The World Health Organization cites that the average life expectancy for people with spinal cord injuries in many low to middle income countries is as low as one year. Even worse, the primary cause for death is not the spinal cord injury itself, but preventable pressure sores. Wheelchair seat cushions are essential to prevent life-threatening pressure sores. Unfortunately, many users receive poor quality cushions or have no cushions at all. With an estimated 200 million wheelchair users in developing countries worldwide, there is a large amount of the global population whose lives are at risk because existing technology is inaccessible. Loop is trying to make high quality seat cushions available to all wheelchair users in developing countries.

When did Loop start and where is it going?

Loop began as an idea in January 2017. After receiving $19,000 in grants from the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust and MIT's Tau Beta Pi, I traveled to Indonesia and Vietnam to interview wheelchair users and NGO's. Based on this, I began to more seriously prototype Loop and was a finalist in MIT's 100K Accelerate Competition in January of 2018. Since then, Shannon McCoy and Smita Bhattacharjee have joined the team. We received grants from the IDEAS Global Challenge, the Legatum Center, MIT Sandbox, and MIT's Tau Beta Pi, bringing our cumulative funding total to $34,000. Shannon and I will be traveling to Bali and Lombok in Indonesia this summer to receive feedback on our most recent prototype of Loop. In the fall, we will be attending the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Conference at the University of Chicago to meet global change makers and compete for funding from CGI.

Read more at our website: loopcushion.org

Check out Loop coverage:

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    Most recent prototype of Loop consisting of laser cut plastic base and 3 inner tubes looped through base.
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    Shannon and I at the IDEAS Global Challenge where we were awarded a $7,500 prize
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    Conducting interviews at Senang Hati Foundation in Bali.
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    Using a pressure map to evaluate seat cushion performance at UCP RUK in Jogjakarta.
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Collaborators

  • Sarah Tress

    Sarah Tress / Founder

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Loop was a self-led project in 2017, during which I applied for initial funding, performed market research in Indonesia and Vietnam, and began to prototype. In February of 2018, Shannon McCoy and Smita Bhattacharjee joined the team, so since then I have served as the team lead for Loop. 

Categories

Mechanical Engineering, Social Causes

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