Digital Health

Purple Comfort: From Wheelchairs to Beds

Image source: Purple Innovation

Overview CES® 2022 exhibitor Purple Innovation is now known for its mattresses — but the company’s story starts with wheelchairs. Explore the beginning of the cushioning technology now providing comfortable sleep to millions.

The signature soft grids that make up Purple mattresses weren’t initially created for beds. In fact, the origin of Purple wasn’t even cushioning technology; it was carbon fiber wheelchairs.

Two brothers’ experiences in advanced space materials, as well as design and manufacturing, led to a partnership creating wheelchairs aimed at addressing the heaviness of traditional wheelchairs. The Pearce brothers’ lightweight carbon fiber creations were more manageable.

But wheelchair users let the brothers know that the real need was for better cushioning; extended sitting and the resulting pressure sores were a literal pain point for users.

The Pearces took on the challenge, creating Floam, the light-weight cushioning that ended up being used in not only wheelchair cushions but also medical beds, footwear, ankle braces, backpack straps and more.

Since the 1990s, Purple — a CES® 2022 exhibitor — has continued to innovate and expand its cushioning technology, upgrading to the airy, grid-like tech behind its signature beds.


Super Stretchy Support

In 1996, the Pearce brothers created breakthrough technology Hyper-Elastic Polymer, a stretchy, soft, flexible and durable material. Molded in a grid-shape, Hyper-Elastic Polymer:

  • Provides no-pressure support by redistributing weight through a principle called column buckling; support is gentle enough to keep an egg from cracking under 3000 pounds of plexiglass dropped from three feet above the mattress

  • Keeps users cool through air channels in the grid; the polymer is also created from a temperature-neutral gel

  • Instantly responds, providing support to users, and springs back into place as users adjust positions; this prevents the lumpy sink-hole effect that users may experience with memory foam

To produce Hyper-Elastic Polymer large enough for a king-sized mattress with a low enough cost, the Pearce brothers created their own machine — the Mattress Max, exclusive to the company. And thus, the Purple bed was created.


Support Through Tough Times and Beyond

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Purple supported relief efforts and designed a mattress that can be used in homeless shelters and care facilities experiencing bed shortages. The company partnered with Relief Bed International to create and distribute 1000 beds across the U.S.

Purple has also expanded efforts to focus on children and their sleep needs, including partnering with Precious Dreams Foundation to provide comfort bags to children in homeless shelters and foster care.

The company aims to continue investing in bringing comfort solutions to millions around the world, even working with customers in prototyping to create new materials.

“We are always going to be finding the newest materials and developing the newest materials to invent new products, said the Purple Innovation team.

Interested in exhibiting at CES 2022 alongside Purple? Contact the CES sales team to learn more about opportunities, including private meeting space.

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