Cambridge Design Partnership has developed a device that is small and easy to use to measure and monitor the vital signs of multiple trauma patients for emergency response in disasters and the battlefield. This device, First Response Monitor, is clipped to casualty’s nose and helps medics monitor both heart and respiratory rates.

Wearables today will capture heart rate accurately but almost none capture respiratory rate or don’t capture them accurately. The ones designed for respiratory rates are inconvenient to use in disaster situations. Accurately monitoring respiratory rate can alert healthcare workers to life-threatening conditions such as sepsis, especially when the information is combined with other vital signs such as pulse rate and blood pressure. After interviews with a range of army medics, designers identified the need for a low cost device to bridge the gap between time consuming manual measurements and expensive patient monitoring systems. The device is small and clips to patient’s nose to monitor breathing and heart rate, provides “at a glance” indication of both vitals. The data is also recorded to reveal changes over time. The data can be transmitted using Bluetooth Low Energy to an app on a smartphone or tablet, freeing up emergency personnel to spend more of their time treating victims and less on data gathering.

While the First Response Monitor is primarily designed for use in mass casualty situations and on battlefields, it has application in civilian medicine, such as sports training and monitoring, or as a low-cost solution for low-resource healthcare settings.