Even if you have zero medical training, you probably know this: when somebody breaks a bone, you want to immobilize it as quickly as possible. Danny Lin, a student at Art Center College of Design in California, knew that basic rule too, and after watching clips of injured soccer players being awkwardly rolled onto cloth stretchers before being carried off the field, he got to thinking that there must be a better way.
Lenify, an entrant in this year’s James Dyson Award competition, is Lin’s solution. It’s a modular stretcher comprised of three parts, each of which can slide underneath an injured body and then snap back together when it’s time to haul them off. The aim is to reduce unnecessary movement–to do away with the need for the flopping, rolling and coaxing that can often result in secondary injury.
As it turns out, Lin isn’t the first person to come up with the idea. Scoop stretchers, which are split into four interlocking parts, use the same principle for stabilizing people with spinal injuries, though Lin thinks his design might have the edge. His has six adjustable parts, instead of four, which he surmises will allow for even less unneeded agitation. Another nice touch of Lin’s design is the handle system, which locks the various pieces of the palette into place automatically as they’re being extended for carrying.
Lin’s currently working on a full-size prototype for the stretcher, and he says he’s eager to continue working on it after graduation, which means there is a chance we could see it deployed for injured footballers in the future. Maybe by then they’ll only be writhing around on the ground when they’re actually injured.