The invention addresses a longstanding and critical problem: A standard hospital mattress, with six or more inches of foam, is pliable and cushiony. Pushing down to administer CPR is like pushing on a big sponge—the force goes into the mattress and not the body lying on it.
A team of Michigan Tech students came up with a simple solution: Push a button, suck the air out of the foam, and make it firm. Some tubing, a little motor, and a vacuum pump work the magic. It takes just ten seconds to work.
The measure of their success? With a standard mattress, only 43 percent of the CPR load winds up reaching the heart; with a board underneath the mattress, that rises to 52 percent; and with the Michigan Tech students’ design, it leaps to 81 percent.
Another team of Michigan Tech students has founded a company and is working to get this mattress into hospitals, especially in emergency rooms. The students expect to have a patent by September 2009. They are talking with a number of companies that have experience bringing medical products to market.
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