A first-aid device called the "tongue sucker" recently won first place in the prestigious INDEX award contest. The tongue sucker is used to easily open the airways in the throat of an unconscious person, allowing air to enter the lungs before paramedics arrive.
Students from Imperial College and the Royal College of Art in London designed the tongue sucker after the 2005 London suicide bombing attacks. As Graeme Davies, one of the inventors, told Reuters , "If you don't open the airway before the paramedics arrive there is no point in them arriving anyway."
The tongue sucker is inexpensive and can be used even by untrained bystanders in case of an emergency. The inventors hope that the plastic device will be included in every first aid kit.
The tongue sucker consists of a small plastic chamber, along with a red, rubber bulb-like air reservoir that is squeezed onto the tongue of the victim and then released. The suction pulls the tongue off the back of the throat, creating a small but vital gap to enable the unconscious person to breathe.
For their prize, the team won $160,000. They plan to start working on product evaluation and clinical trials in the future.