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Award-winning sheet

Innovation award for textile to prevent bedsores

Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA)


IMAGE: A scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of the new bed linen shows the dot-matrix like structure. The structured textile surface reduces the contact area with the skin and, thanks to... view more

Credit: Empa

Bedsores, or pressure sores, are a serious problem in health care. During long periods of immobility, blood circulation in the skindecreases due to moisture as well as pressure and shear forces. The accumulation of toxic substances and the lack of oxygen cause damage to the skin, resulting in sores that are difficult to treat and, in the worst case, can even be life-threatening. Although there are known methods fo rpreventing bedsores, these are either very expensive or not (yet) effective enough.

A joint project by Empa, their industrial partner Schoeller Medical and the Swiss Paraplegic Centre focused on a method of bedsore prevention that was impressive in its simplicity: a sheet with a particularly skin-friendly surface. The special "dot matrix structure" of the fabric reduces pressure and friction and conducts the moisture away from the skin. Following laboratory tests and clinical trials, the clever sheet is currently undergoing final testing before its market launch, which is due to take place this year. It is now gaining international recognition.

The organisers of the Techtextil international trade fair for the technical textiles and nonwovens industries have awarded the bedsore sheet the Techtextil Innovation Prize in the New Applications category. The Innovation Prize promotes unconventional thinking and dialogue between research, industry and users. The award ceremony will take place in mid-June at Techtextil 2013 in Frankfurt, where the prize winners will present their innovation in a separate area of the exhibition.

The second Techtextil fair is being held from 11 to 13 June 2013. This international trade fair is devoted to functional textiles from a range of product categories and end-use sectors. As well as exhibition stands, the trade fair features two Innovation Prizes and two symposiums. When it was launched in 2011, the exhibition attracted over 1200 exhibitors and almost 25,000 visitors.


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