May 21, 2007 Only 6 months after learning life-saving CPR techniques, around 60 percent of first aiders - including doctors and nurses - forget how to do it correctly. As a result, survival rates from cardiac arrests remain low. The Canadian CPR Glove acts as a quick on-the-job refresher course, making sure the first aider administers the correct frequency and depth of chest compression. It's a simple and cheap device that has real potential to save lives if included in a first aid kit.
The black, one-size-fits-all CPR Glove features a series of sensors and chips that measure the frequency and depth of compressions being administered during CPR and outputs the data to a digital display.
To be effective, compressions must be given at the rate of 100 per minute and at a depth of four to five centimeters.
A study measuring retention of CPR training published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that 59 per cent of the time, compressions were applied at the rate of only 80 per minute. Thirty-seven per cent of the time, the compressions were too shallow. CPR administered at these levels is not likely to save a person in cardiac arrest.
"We were brainstorming about what we could create for our final-year design project that would provide a real contribution," said inventor Corey Centen, a fourth-year student in electrical and biomedical engineering at McMaster. "We came across this study and recognized the importance of finding a solution."
Centen and classmate Nilesh Patel started working on the concept in September 2006 and developed a number of prototypes, bringing the size of components down each time. They wrote the programs and hand-fabricated the button-size computer chips that operate the glove. They even designed the pattern for the glove but turned to a professional seamstress to recommend fabric and stitch the glove together.
"We see the glove being available as part of any standard first-aid package," explains Patel, also a fourth-year electrical and biomedical engineering student at McMaster. "It is also ideal for CPR training and refresher courses. It would be easy to afford since the components are readily available and relatively inexpensive."
The device has been named as one of Popular Science magazine's top 10 inventions of 2007.