Invention of the Week? Medi-Pod Could Help Save Lives in War Zones

Transporting blood and organs is normally done with the aid of ambulances, motorbikes, or even helicopters.

But could it all be done more quickly and efficiently while delivering them over battlefields or into areas where natural disasters occurred?

James King, a mechanical engineering student at Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland, has a new invention that is cutting-edge in every sense and which provides a new solution in the delivery of critical medical supplies between hospitals and to isolated, and inaccessible war-torn areas. 

Cork Institute of Technology 2015: James King has invented Medi-Pod, which is a lightweight durable drone compatible medical transportation device.Cork Institute of Technology 2015: James King has invented Medi-Pod, which is a lightweight durable drone compatible medical transportation device.

King has invented Medi-Pod, which is a “lightweight durable drone compatible medical transportation device” and it will help get the job done in getting blood and organs to those in need, and most of all it could help save lives.

His invention is now highlighted on the 2015 James Dyson Foundation Awards website, and his invention took first place in the Ireland Engineers Innovation Student Awards Competition.

Medi-Pod is a self-cooling pod that can easily be delivered by drones. His pod has already been tested for flight efficiency and it will soon be unveiled to the military and disaster relief organizations around the world.

“I have had a strong interest in model making and product design from a very early age,” says King. “My Dad, who works in the ambulance service in Central London, told me of the great difficulties, delays and equipment and personnel costs in the current practice of transporting blood and organs between medical centres and hospitals by ambulance often during peak traffic times. My research into transport of medical supplies brought to light some shocking figures and statistics and strongly indicated an urgent need for an alternative effective medical supplies transportation mode in both civilian and military applications.”

King points out that from 2001 to 2011, nearly 5,000 US soldiers died in Iraq and Afghanistan. A recent study conducted by the US military reports that 26.3 per cent of those fatalities could have been avoided if essential medical supplies – blood and organs - were delivered quickly.

“A staggering 88.9 per cent of those deaths occurred before the injured reached a medical facility - 4,090 troops suffered mortal wounds on the battlefield - 1,391 troops died instantly and 2,699 troops succumbed before arriving at a treatment centre,” says King. “Just 506 service members made it to a field hospital before succumbing to their injuries. These numbers provide a startling indication that there is a serious need to improve the on-field treatment capability for the troops.”

King’s Medi-Pod, which is shaped like a large-sized teardrop, can be attached to any kind of drone that has to fly into extreme environments.

“It’s basically a small carbon fibre pod which cools itself to the right temperature (two to four degrees) for blood and attaches under the wings of a drone to allow safe flight," King explains. “It’s been wind-tunnel tested and I’m just waiting for a drone to put it in the air now.”

His invention at present is prototype and testing proves that his well-crafted pod can carry blood and organs safely within a few hundred kilometers. The next step for King will be to advance his invention so it can travel around 3,000 kilometers, which is the normal traveling distance for military drones.

King’s Medi-Pod is now going through the patent process and his plan is to soon launch it commercially.

Will his invention be widely utilized by military and disaster relief organizations? There is no doubt that it will. Saving lives is a top priority in the battlefield and at the scene of natural disaster.

King’s invention is a big breakthrough and it’s ideal for helping saving the lives of soldiers and civilians alike.