CRT Technology Showcase

NXT Cushions & Backs: The Details Make the Difference

The new NXT (“Next”) seat cushions and backrests from Motion Composites perfectly demonstrate the importance of details.

Motion Composites, known for its gorgeous ultralightweight carbon fiber chairs, acquired the NXT line from Dynamic Health Care Solutions in 2019, and this is the first big overhaul of NXT since then. Jean-Philippe Villeneuve, Motion Composites’ Director of Marketing, noted, “The NXT seating series perfectly complements the Motion Composites high-end rigid and folding wheelchair models. It’s a great extension of our product offering.”

The BioFit cushion is NXT’s cushion for clients who need deep immersion and are at medium to high risk of skin breakdown, and there’s a wide range of sizes to match (widths: 10-26"; depths: 10-22"). The NüFit cushion, for clients at low to medium pressure injury risk, is available in 16-22" widths and 16-20" depths. NXT back supports comprise a wide range of models and are available in multiple heights for pelvic or thoracic support.

The Cover As Gatekeeper

NXT Seating logoNXT was originally created by Tony Persaud, a wheelchair user who knew firsthand how factors such as microclimate and transfers can impact seating products.

That level of insight is at the center of the refresh. For example, NXT cushions and backs now use smartx3D fabric in their covers.

Alli Speight, MScOT, ATP, is the Director of Clinical Education & Training/Motion U at Motion Composites. Explaining how the team decided on fabrics, Speight said, “There’s always a clinical reason behind what you do in this industry. [The covers] are a combination of smartx3D fabric, which is a knit spacer mesh fabric, as well as a ballistic weave fabric on the backside of the cover to help it stay in place with the back shell, and to help it hold up over time, because it’s along the back of the laterals, where armrests tend to rub during transfers.

“The smartx3D gave great clinical properties, and adding that ballistic weave fabric to the back makes it functional as well as clinical. We know products have to serve a clinical need, but they also have to stand up to the wear and tear that they go through with our users.”

Smartx3D’s four-way stretch, Speight said, is critical. “The fabric is the outer piece. Not only is it what you see first aesthetically, but it covers your cushion or back, which means it’s the gatekeeper of whether you get the benefits of the support surface. So the contouring, the laterals, the material underneath — the foam or any other material the support surface is made out of — the fabric is the gatekeeper to that. It can have clinical properties itself that add benefits to the end user, but it still has to allow you to envelop and immerse into the device.

“A two-way-stretch fabric will stretch either width wise or length wise, but not in both of directions at the same time. A four-way-stretch fabric will simultaneously stretch width wise and length wise. It’s going to allow contour to the user as well as to the contours of the cushion or back support and really allow for that maximum contact, that immersion, that envelopment. So you get the clinical benefits of the anatomical features built into the product. That four-way-stretch is really what allows you to get the full benefit from that design.”

“That combination keeps the structure of the cover over time as well as has those clinical features and benefits of the four-way-stretch 3D spacer fabric,” said Product Manager Phil Goodenough. “So we wanted to optimize both: the longevity and the structure, plus the properties of the immersion, low shear, and breathability.”

A Look That’s Compatible

Motion Composites is known for its aesthetics, and that principle carried over to the NXT project.

“The thing I like about the aesthetic refresh is it has the complementary pairing to the Motion Composites line of chairs,” Goodenough added. “These pieces of seating are modular, and I think they hit a really nice balance point with the aesthetics. I think it would complement pretty much anything you mount it on because we added subtle signature [elements], but also universal [elements] that we’ve incorporated into the look.”

Even zippers were carefully thought out, Goodenough said, “It is a waterproof, nautical-grade zipper, designed to be an extra barrier for any type of moisture getting into the cushion and negatively affecting foam. That zipper is incorporated into our inner moisture-barrier cover, which is standard on all NXT cushions, as well as the outer cover. Going back to the brand and aesthetic refresh, the designers found a really cool way of incorporating branding onto the outer surface of the zipper itself.”

The Importance of Aesthetics

3 NXT backsThroughout the NXT lineup, you’ll see exquisite branding touches, such as the NXT logo and model names on cushions and backs, not to mention the elegant treatment of the NXT logo on that new two-way zipper.

“Whether it’s a cushion, a back support, or a wheelchair, we know aesthetics matter,” Speight said. “It matters in almost every industry. But when it comes to medical devices, the end user often doesn’t have a lot of control of the product they can obtain. Whether you’re slotted for a K0005 wheelchair or for a basic cushion, wherever you fall within funding limits, you don’t have a lot of control. So within that category, if you can find a product that appeals to you, it allows for a bit of that control to be placed back in the end user’s hands. They can choose their preference. That can mean a lot.”

“It was a team effort and a fun project,” Villeneuve said of the refresh. “It was interesting to have marketing immersed in this project, because it can really make a difference.”

“When it’s an unoccupied piece of seating, I think there’s something slick, functional and modern about it,” Goodenough said of the NXT lineup. “But at the end of the day, there is a person who uses it, and they’re first and foremost.”

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2021 issue of Mobility Management.

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