The Smart Magazine About Medical Technology Innovations

#24 - Innovations With Teeth

{EMS World Expo} The Road to Next-Gen Ambulances

The Crestline Icon 2.0 (Courtesy of Crestline)

Eco-friendly, safer and connected, some of the ambulances displayed at EMS World Expo 2016 in early October have embraced innovation.


Sustainability was a keyword at the New Orleans trade show. Though not new, solar panels are appearing on more and more ambulance roofs. For example, the redesigned Crestline Icon 2.0, winner of the 2016 EMS World Innovation Award, features PV panels to power onboard equipment and recharge batteries.

Another smart feature is REV Ambulance Group’s use of Stealth Power technology. This auxiliary electrical system powers defibrillators, electrocardiographs and other key medical equipment requiring constant power. The company claims their system could save more than US$16,000 per year, per ambulance by enabling medics to turn off the vehicle’s engine when stationary.

Oxygen cylinder lift (Courtesy of Braun)

Oxygen cylinder lift (Courtesy of Braun)

Personnel Safety

Among other innovations displayed at EMS World Expo, Braun Ambulance E-Z 02 Lift is an extremely simple, clever oxygen cylinder lift and storage unit which could prevent numerous back injuries.

Braun has placed a lot of emphasis on personnel safety. Not only did the company display three new ambulances at the Expo, but it also released new crash test footage, explaining how it used the test data to improve safety.

Protecting medics against poor work practices was extensively discussed in New Orleans. Companies like Crestline are using audio alert technologies such as Zoll’s Roadsafety. Installed in an ambulance, the device collects speed, braking, acceleration, turn signal and other data. If the vehicle approaches predefined limits, audio warnings sound. They increase in intensity if the driver does not modify his/her behavior.

The “Batmobile”

However, the most fascinating piece of ambulance technology displayed at the EMS fair may well have been the “Batmobile”. This is how George Barlow Brown and Capt. Adam Brickeen, both of the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security, nicknamed their creation.

Rather than adapting an existing ambulance, they decided to build their own advanced emergency response vehicle using off-the-shelf technologies. This white paper (PDF) explains its features, including:

  •         An advanced LED light bar providing 360° high-intensity illumination
  •         A unique control head, grouping all internal switches on a single platform
  •         A Tesla-like tablet able to accept both IT and video input in place of the central PC
  •         A 360° networked camera system able to stream footage to headquarters

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