A brand new device to assist physicians and nurses in communicating while wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was developed and successfully trialled by Leicester academics in collaboration with Formula 1 racing engineers in the Alpine F1 Team. PPE provides head-to-toe protection and serves as a personal barrier against a variety of safety and health hazards.

PPE used by medical teams treating patients using COVID-19 and other infectious diseases has meant that physicians and nurses often have to yell to be discovered, which isn’t just exhausting but might cause miscommunication that could potentially hurt patients.

Timothy J Coats, a Professor of Emergency Medicine and Associate Dean for Clinical Data Science at the University of Leicester, and consultant in emergency medicine at Leicester’s Hospitals, has created MedicCom (Medical Communication Device) not-for-profit group Project Pitlane.

The prototype MedicCom design, supported by KTN and funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Innovate UK, utilizes a throat mic to pick up and enhance noise, empowering patients to hear better the health staff caring for them.

The identical function also permits physicians and nurses to listen to each other much more obviously. At the same time, a Bluetooth link links to a cell phone, allowing the physician or nurse to maintain an apparent phone conversation with the individual’s relatives.

Professor Coats said, even if somebody is standing next to you if you are head-to-toe in PPE, you need to be yelling to have the ability to hear one another. Not only is that exhausting, but we all know that this may cause miscommunication that could potentially hurt patients. 

Excellent communication has a profoundly positive impact on patient care, and that’s the reason why we began work on a remedy. Working together with the F1 engineers was brilliant. We have managed to use their experience in advanced electrical technology and their centres for quick prototyping to create six months a system that would usually take years.

The model devices have been favourably assessed by clinicians from Leicester’s Hospitals, from the Medical Devices Technology Assessment Centre at Birmingham, along with the group supporting the layout, are now seeking additional funds to roll out the devices across the NHS.

The device progressed in layout to a fully functional prototype within an unprecedented six months, thanks to methodologies usually employed from the F1 market. The team managed to significantly lower the size of this device because of a more compact battery and lightweight circuit board parts, and a smaller speaker and sealing mechanism.

Nine prototypes were then generated using rapid prototype machines in Alpine F1 Team’s UK headquarters in Enstone, Oxfordshire.

Project Pitlane, which joins on-track competitors and personnel from around F1 and motorsport, was made in March 2020 to reply to the UK government’s call to arms’ to collaborate and create essential supplies in the struggle against COVID-19. It depends on experience and goodwill across the business to help numerous companies with technology challenges and provide quality products or services to your larger good.

Alpine F1 Team Strategic Advisor Bob Bell, former Alpine Head of Electronics, Jason Rees, and Andy Damerum in Red Bull Advanced Technologies worked closely with Professor Coats to comprehend the medical profession’s requirements. Bob Bell, Alpine F1 Team Strategic Advisor, given his experience to the machine through Job Pitlane. He explained that Project Pitlane had continued the job. Throughout the ventilator challenge, it began helping the University of Leicester create a book on the medical communications device to help NHS clinicians wearing PPE.

It’s been a joy to work with both the University and Innovate UK, and we expect that it will cause additional successful collaborations. In addition to this MedicCom prototype, F1 engineers also have worked on the BlueSky fast response ventilator.

Project Pitlane additionally holds the experience to take on challenges on program direction, evaluation of material science, performance optimization, information evaluation, design and applications technology, and prototype production.