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Triage technology with a Star Trek twist
Date:5/27/2009

ometer can measure the velocity and displacement of vibrating objects. An algorithm then converts those data points into measurements emergency medical responders can use in their rapid assessment of a patient's critical medical conditions.

With the help of Washington University, researchers have found that best place to capture strong readings vital signs is on the carotid artery, although strong signals have been obtained from the head, chest, abdomen, even a foot. Researchers are also testing whether readings could be taken when someone is lying in an awkward position, or wearing multiple layers of clothing. So far, the results are encouraging.

Despite its promise, the SPTT is not quite as a sophisticated as StarTrek's tricorder, which was able to comprehensively diagnose obscure diseases. The standoff patient triage tool is a quantum leap forward for medical response, but science fiction remains on the big screen for the moment. The goal is to develop a handheld unit about the size of a legal notebook and as a thick as a ream of paper. Achieving this will require hardening of the unit, and further testing of optical stabilization technology to make sure the unit can function despite a responder's arm and hand movements. Transition and commercialization could occur sometime mid to late 2010.

The final frontier for the SPTT, of course, is the first responders themselves. S&T's Tech Solutions wants to put working prototypes in the hands of medical teams this fall for extensive field tests. From there, everyone is hoping for warp speed ahead.


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Contact: John Verrico
john.verrico@dhs.gov
202-527-3625
US Department of Homeland Security - Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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