Ingenious ideas rethinking emergency response

Explore the next-generation solutions of emergency care

Ambulance drone - close upThe Index Project

Ambulance Drone

The ambitious proposal to give urban paramedics wings

Ambulance drone - front view of carThe Index Project

In Europe, 800,000 people suffer cardiac arrest every year and only about 8% survive. This is often due the emergency services response time. It takes approximately 10 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, but fatalities generally occur with four to six minutes.

Ambulance drone - two versionsThe Index Project

By adding drones to the ambulance force in major cities around the world, Dutch design student Alec Momont aims to shave off crucial minutes in response time.

Ambulance drone - in use 2The Index Project

Momont's solution the Ambulance Drone is designed to carry life-saving necessities like defibrillators, resuscitation aids and medications. It’s capable of getting to a patient, within a 12 square kilometre radius, in just one minute - increasing the chance of survival from 8% to 80%.

Ambulance drone - in useThe Index Project

Once at the scene, a paramedic can observe and instruct first responders or victims via live stream video connection - a feature that will make it much easier for untrained help to use the medical equipment.

Ambulance Drone videoThe Index Project

The drone could help save lives by extending existing emergency infrastructure and has already attracted the interest of services in Amsterdam.

Bloop in handThe Index Project


A device to 'recycle' blood during surgery

Bloop context 2The Index Project

In many parts of the world, blood reserves are still rarely available. As a direct result, there are currently 40 million people worldwide that can’t undergo surgery due to the high risk of bleeding to death.

Bloop squareThe Index Project

While it’d be impossible to ensure an endless supply of blood on demand, one young German designer, David Wojcik, has come up with the next best thing. A device that can instantly and safely 'recycle' a patient’s own lost blood.

Bloop single setThe Index Project

As the patient is losing blood, either due to injury or surgery, it can be collected in a vessel, filtered and cleaned through the Bloop device and then put directly back into the body.

Bloop full setThe Index Project

Depending on the location and resources available, Bloop can be scaled up or down to meet the needs of any clinic or hospital.

Bloop videoThe Index Project

The reusable device, which costs approximately USD 10, could replace current expensive and often unsafe transfusion methods to save millions of lives, especially in developing countries.

Janma context 2The Index Project

Janma - Clean Birth Kit

The three-dollar kit providing a safe start to life

Janma babyThe Index Project

According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 60 million women in developing countries give birth each year with only the help of an untrained attendant or with no help at all. As a result, they risk contracting an infection, which accounts for nearly one in five maternal deaths.

Janma kitThe Index Project

JANMA is an affordable clean birth kit to provide the mother with a safe, clean and hygienic delivery whether she delivers at home, at a primary health care centre or in a government hospital.

Janma diagramThe Index Project

Packed in a reusable jute purse, the quality, low-cost components include an under-pad, sterile gloves, surgical blade, cord clamp and soap.

Janma mother and childThe Index Project

The kit is sourced and assembled in India by local women and is distributed through an established network of local pharmacies, clinics and hospitals.

JANMA – the Clean Birth KitThe Index Project

Making clean delivery kits widely available will help reduce rates of infection and will substantially decrease maternal and infant mortality.

Ubuntu in useThe Index Project


An innovative containment bed for epidemic outbreaks

Ubuntu contextThe Index Project

During the height of the 2014 Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, local hospitals were completely overwhelmed. Due to this lack of capacity, general patients were denied the treatment they needed - leading to more than 11,000 deaths.

Ubuntu context 2The Index Project

“I was so shocked to see that in the 21st century, in the age of innovation, that we were still not ready for an epidemic outbreak,” says designer Ilteris Ilbasan. “This is our time to be proactive, not reactive.”

Ubuntu in use 2The Index Project

When disaster strikes, Ubuntu is the backup solution that every remote hospital needs. The low-cost containment bed can be quickly assembled to ensure prompt care of patients and reduce the spread of disease.

Ubuntu prototypeThe Index Project

The bed is made from lightweight and space efficient materials, including locally sourced bamboo, zip ties and disposable sheets of Tyvek®.

Ubuntu coverThe Index Project

The Tyvek® sheets function as both a mattress and a barrier between the beds. They’re also printed with easy-to-understand instructions for putting the bed together.

Ubuntu in use 3The Index Project

For the price of one standard hospital bed, seven Ubuntu beds can be produced.

Ubuntu in use 4The Index Project

By reducing time spent on logistics, health workers can focus more on patient care and reducing the risk of secondary contamination.

Ubuntu videoThe Index Project

While the bed was initially designed to help control outbreaks, the designer plans to develop future iterations for general disaster response and use in refugee camps.

Tongue SuckerThe Index Project

Tongue Sucker

The humble first aid device that could save your life

Tongue Sucker context 2The Index Project

When a person falls unconscious, it’s not uncommon for the tongue to fall into the back of the throat and block the airway. Without intervention, brain damage or death can occur in just four minutes.

Tongue Sucker 1The Index Project

Developed by designers from Imperial College and the Royal College of Art in London, the appropriately named Tongue Sucker is an emergency tool designed to keep the tongue in place to prevent suffocation.

Tongue Sucker in useThe Index Project

Simply squeeze the brightly coloured bulb, place the opening over the tip of the tongue and release. Once in place, the first aider is free to perform CPR, call for help or assist other casualties.

Ambulance drone - carThe Index Project

The Tongue Sucker was inspired by the 2005 London bombings where first responders had to cope with an unprecedented number of casualties. The designers identified the clear need for a simple device that anybody could use to free the airways.

Tongue Sucker videoThe Index Project

The team worked with elderly citizens from the University of the Third Age in London to research the design’s ergonomic qualities. Over 60 prototypic models were made before arriving at the final product.

Bambulance - handlesThe Index Project


The rickshaw ambulance

Bambulance - context 2The Index Project

The lack of infrastructure in many low-income and remote communities makes it near impossible to get to a hospital quickly. In an emergency, some may be able to call for an ambulance, but many have no other option than walking to the nearest clinic.

Bambulance design imageThe Index Project

The Bambulance is a low-cost ‘ambulance’ designed to transport the sick or injured across rural terrain. The stretcher can be easily attached to bikes and various other modes of transport.

Bambulance in useThe Index Project

“We’ll adapt it to the most appropriate form of transportation in the given location and set of needs,” explains one of the designers Niki Dun. “At the end of the day, the bike seems fastest but it can be pulled by a person, bike or even a donkey.”

Bambulance side viewThe Index Project

The stretchers frame is made from cheap, lightweight and locally grown bamboo and can be easily assembled and operated by one person.

Bambulance in use - womanThe Index Project

Rolled out in western Kenya, locals also received technical training and skills to manufacture an initial fleet, as well as training to manage and maintain the life-saving service.

Bambulance in use - outside clinicThe Index Project

“We are really trying to create a project model that is truly community-focused and collaborative,” says Dun. “We believe this approach is critical in order for the project to be truly sustainable.”

AIME webstieThe Index Project


Safety in numbers: Data and AI to protect public health

AIME mosquitoThe Index Project

When disease outbreaks occur, communities are often underprepared. And in severe cases, can be left completely defenceless. Of all disease-transmitting insects, the mosquito is the greatest threat, responsible for several million deaths and hundreds of millions of cases every year.

AIME interface - three imagesThe Index Project

AIME (Artificial Intelligence and Medical Epidemiology) is a company using big data and artificial intelligence to help predict disease epidemics.

AIME interface - two imagesThe Index Project

The platform can then forewarn governments, organisations and medical facilities, enabling preventative public health efforts to be quickly rolled out.

AIME RioThe Index Project

In 2016, AIME worked with Viva Rio, a Brazil-based NGO, and the government of San Paulo to prevent the spread of Zika and dengue virus in Brazil — just in time for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

AIME in useThe Index Project

During tests of their dengue prediction platform in Malaysia and Brazil, AIME predicted where outbreaks would occur with 84-88% accuracy in advance of the outbreak.

AIME videoThe Index Project

The team, originally formed at Singularity University, is currently working to incorporated AIME into the decision-making process of public health officials in the city of San Paulo.

Credits: Story

Alec Momont, David Wojcik, Ayzh, Ilteris Ilbasan, Imperial College and the Royal College of Art, Philippa Mennell, Chris Ryan, Niki Dun, Philippe Schlesser, AIME and INDEX: Design to Improve Life®

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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