A wearable medical device designed by Cambridge Design Partnership (Cambridge, UK) will help medics and first responders to provide triage on the battlefield and during natural disasters, allowing them to focus on delivering care where it is most needed and will be the most effective. The connected device clips onto the nose and delivers at-a-glance readings of respiration and heart rate of multiple casualties via a smartphone app. The readings can also be viewed individually through a tiny display on the device itself. Cambridge Design showcased the project at MD&M West in Anaheim, CA, last week, where it emphasized other potential applications for the novel device.
"Right now, it's kind of an internal cookie for us," Dominique Freeman, Director of Business Development, told PlasticsToday from the company's booth on the show floor. "We're looking for a business model that can work for this unique product beyond the battlefield and disaster zones."
The First Response Monitor was initially designed to fill a gap between laborious manual methods of vital signs measurement and expensive patient monitoring systems that may be unwieldy in emergency situations. Unlike other medical wearables, which measure just the heart rate, this device also monitors the respiratory rate, which has been called the "forgotten bio-sign," says Cambridge Design. Accurately measuring the respiratory rate combined with other parameters, such as heart rate and body temperature, can indicate life-threatening conditions, such as sepsis.
Other key features of the device are its low cost, light weight and robust design, adds Matt Brady, Head of Medical Therapy at Cambridge Design Partnership. The data is transmitted in real time to a smartphone app or tablet and is added to a trends graph showing how patients' vitals have changed over time, enabling other data analyses such as multiple patient triage or situational awareness across the group.
The prototype on display at MD&M West was vacuum cast in various grades of polyurethane; the finished device will be molded in a biocompatible material and will be smaller than the already small prototype, explained Brady.
The company is now exploring civilian applications for the technology including in sports training and wellness monitoring and as a low-cost device for low-resource healthcare settings.