Years ago I drove an ambulance, and on my very first call I'd done chest compressions on a guy who was unfortunately too far gone to be saved. Afterwards the seasoned EMTs told me that CPR is a real Hail Mary that works less than 10% of the time, despite what you see in the movies. It's a primitive way to try to pump blood to the brain, and they said that particularly on older patients, you could even accidentally crack their ribs while doing it.
Lars Imhof and Marc Binder, graduates from the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern in Switzerland, came up with the Reax concept as a more efficient, automated means of doing chest compressions.
"REAX" compresses the entire chest at regular intervals and forces the blood into the brain more efficiently and more evenly than with a manual cardiac massage. The flexible back panel can be installed quickly by a single person on the patient and adapts to the upper body. The paramedic is no longer carried out only deals with the heart massage but can take further action. Even during the transport to the operating room or in the CT continues the resuscitation.
The Reax took third prize in this year's James Dyson Award. (First and Second prize, Samuel Adeloju's Longreach Buoyancy Deployment System and Kimberley Hoffman's Sea Kettle, respectively, have been getting plenty of blog love and we wanted to throw some spotlights on Imhof and Binder too.)