MIME Technologies Spin-off Company Develops Smart Device to Save Air Passenger Lives

A medical technology company at the University of Aberdeen has unveiled a smart device aimed at revolutionizing the way medical events are handled in the air.

MIME technologies believes the device has the potential to benefit the thousands of travelers who become ill on flights each year.

It’s an issue that is becoming a growing challenge for passengers and airlines as the population ages and more people travel with long-term health issues. In a single year, medical hijackings can reach 60 flights for a major airline and can cost up to £ 38,500 for each hijacked flight.

Four billion people travel by plane each year, and estimates from the International Air Traffic Association suggest that number is expected to rise to 8.2 billion by 2037.

A multidisciplinary team of physiologists, technologists and aviation medicine specialists have created a new wireless technology, called “Aiber”, which aims to provide fast and accurate assistance to cabin crew and pilots.

It aims to enable more informed decisions for a wide range of medical events ranging from burns and allergic reactions to potential heart attacks in the air.

The cabin crew is responsible for the care of passengers in flight and receives detailed and specific training in first aid, which is renewed each year. But while some airlines may require clinical assistance “on the ground”, this is not required for all flights.

Calling the ground can also be difficult, forcing the crew to leave the patient’s side to use the on-board phone or existing headset technology, which is prone to serious issues like noise interference.

Aiber is considered the first technology capable of live streaming a wide range of data on passengers on the ground, enabling real-time digital communication between crew, passenger and clinical support.

MIME Technologies Co-Founder and CEO Anne Roberts said: “An in-flight medical event, even of a minor nature, can be extremely stressful for cabin crew. Our affordable technology guides them through their first aid training, but most importantly, it delivers live updates of medical events in the field.

“This is extremely important because it allows a more informed decision to be made about a passenger’s stability and whether the flight should be diverted or continued. It allows cabin crew to stay alongside the passenger throughout and, Using AI, it automatically stores and transmits essential information that can often be missed or saved only after the event.

“For the first time, clinicians on the ground will be able to follow, in real time, the deterioration or improvement of an air passenger using wireless technology and the technology provides a seamless handover to the services of emergency meeting the aircraft.

“We believe the technology will help prevent unnecessary hijacking but, more importantly, it will help save lives by providing ‘eyes in the sky’ on flights around the world.”

Developed with input from two of the world’s largest airlines and adapted for use by commercial airlines and business jets, the technology can incorporate clinical grade wireless cardiac sensing equipment; specially designed for non-medical professionals such as cabin crew. MIME recently completed field trials with a global aviation company, with many commercial and business aircraft customers in the pipeline.

Founded by Dr Alasdair Mort and Anne Roberts, MIME Technologies is located at Solasta House on the innovative Inverness campus.

Supported by Highlands & Islands Enterprise, the company won the Scottish EDGE Award in 2017. Other awards include the Excellence in Research & Innovation award from SCDI. In October 2019, the company received investments led by investors from Equity Gap and the Scottish Investment Bank.

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