Medical

Pressure-sensing chest mat guides users through CPR

Unlike some similar devices, the mat utilizes soft sensors that don't hurt the user's hands
Unlike some similar devices, the mat utilizes soft sensors that don't hurt the user's hands
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Unlike some similar devices, the mat utilizes soft sensors that don't hurt the user's hands
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Unlike some similar devices, the mat utilizes soft sensors that don't hurt the user's hands

Most people haven't been trained to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and even if they have, they may lack confidence in their ability should they ever have to actually do so. That's why a new high-tech "chest mat" has been designed to coach them through the process.

Known for now simply as the Rescue Aid, the device was designed by students at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich, in collaboration with scientists at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research.

The idea is that when someone is experiencing heart failure and is lying down, the mat will be placed over their torso. A bystander will then begin applying chest compressions through the mat. As they do so, a linked network of flexible silicone deformation sensors in the device will measure the amount of pressure that they're applying.

A strip of LEDs in a panel at the top of the mat will illuminate with each compression, shining in green if the pressure is sufficient, and proceeding to red if it's too much. Additionally, the greater the amount of pressure that's applied, the larger the number of LEDs that will light up – so the goal is to get as many green LEDs shining as possible, but to back off before entering the "red zone."

The panel also beeps with each compression, essentially serving as a metronome to help users maintain a rhythm.

Tests performed on a resuscitation training mannequin have shown the technology to be effective. It is now being optimized for real-world use, and adapted to fit a variety of body sizes.

"If performed correctly, chest compressions significantly improve the victim’s chances of survival," says Fraunhofer's Dr. Holger Böse. "Rescue Aid is a way to simplify the resuscitation process."

Source: Fraunhofer

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