Lancaster University

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Hobby produces innovative tool for rescue workers

04/26/2002 16:53:23

A company that started out more as a hobby for its owners, Professor Bahram Honary from Lancaster's department of Communications Systems and Professor Mike Darnell from Leeds University, has produced a powerful new tool for rescue workers.

HW Communications developed Tele-Medic technology which has been incorporated into a walkie talkie capable of transmitting detailed medical data and pictures of accident victims to experts so help can be relayed back instantly.

With conventional two way radios only speech can be transmitted but a new digital system enables emergency services such as ambulance crews an the fire brigade to send information and images from an incident back to a base such as an accident and emergency department. From there a diagnosis can be made and instructions sent back.

Successful trials of the handsets - manufactured by Simoco Digital Systems and customised with Tele-Medic have been completed in the Lake District by Langdale-Ambleside Mountain Rescue. A set of equipment costs about £4000 and fits into a rucksack.

Professors Honary and Darnell initially set out to make demonstrators, one off systems which showed how research ideas could work in practice.

Now the 19 strong firm, which includes sponsored students to Lancaster's Communication Systems department, has grown over the past two years from a turnover of £120,000 to £600,000.