Chelmsford County High School for Girls
A team of six Year 12 students designed and produced a telemetric life jacket to measure the wearer’s vitals, such as heart rate and GPS location, and then report this information to potential rescuers.
The Team: Courtney Canning, Sophie Oldroyd, Hannah Ritchie, Hannah McCarthy, Abigail Bowler and Martha Anderson-Taylor
Region: South East
Sponsor: BAE Systems plc
Objective: Produce Telemetry Enabled Life Jacket
The objective of the Chelmsford team’s project was to design a form of wearable technology. After research and consideration, the team chose to design a life jacket that would monitor vital signs of the wearer, such as body temperature, heart rate and GPS location, whilst simultaneously transmitting these data to a variety of potential rescue means – via nearby sea vessels, aircraft or onshore avenues.
As such, the team hoped to develop a life jacket practical for both commercial and military use that would enable rescuers to prioritise rescue for those in most urgent need of medical attention.
The team collaborated with engineers from BAE Systems to design and manufacture their life jacket prototype. Firstly, the team worked together to design and construct a small, non-intrusive system capable of monitoring the user’s vitals – including location, heart rate and body temperature. Next, the team waterproofed their product to a high standard to ensure durability, before retrofitting the system to a standard life jacket.
Lastly, the team designed, programmed and completed a system to transmit the measured data to surrounding vessels or onshore rescue services. As part of this process, the team investigated, for example, the length of time the electronic aspect of the life jacket would need to last at sea. Reviewing hypothermia statistics, as well as average sea temperatures, the team concluded that their life jacket power supply would need to last for just over six hours in order to be most effective in ensuring the user received help at the critical time.
Having successfully completed the project, the team would hope to improve their product in the future by wirelessly transmitting the data collected to potential rescuers – something they were unable to complete in the given time - and improving the aesthetic appeal of the retrofitted product design.