Students at the Technion in Haifa, Israel (Israel Institute of Technology, a public research university) have produced a working prototype of an innovative stretcher to help emergency medical services and search-and-rescue teams evacuate victims from off-road areas inaccessible to vehicles and helicopters.
The 15-kilogram, foldable Adventure Stretcher, built in collaboration with Israel-based Segal Bikes and Israeli voluntary EMS network United Hatzalah, allows two people to transport a patient over long distances by centering most of the weight on a large bicycle wheel. The initial working prototype will be refined over the next year, with the goal of a fully functioning, marketable product, and made even lighter--possibly of lightweight magnesium, which is hard enough to act as a backboard for victims with back and neck injuries; the current aluminum model can hold up to 300 kilos--easier to fold and unfold, and able to be conveyed by a single rescuer.
The stretcher prototype was created by a team of mechanical engineering students and members of United Hatzalah and the Israel Search-and-Rescue Unit under the auspices of the Israelife Foundation.
The idea was born from a one-wheeled wheelchair that Israeli NGO Etgarim uses for taking physically challenged people hiking in difficult terrain.
Many emergency rescue situations in Israel involve cycling crashes and accidents, so the stretcher could theoretically be attached to a wheel from a cyclist’s bike, making the stretcher lighter and quicker to deploy. Segal Bikes is working toward supplying a special puncture-proof wheel for the device.
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