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Alex Round, a BA Hons Product and Furniture Design graduate, has designed ground-breaking safety features for ambulance trolleys transferring neonates or newborn babies to hospital.
Photo of BCU graduate and Design Engineer at Evac+Chair International Alex Round

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Baby on board

Alex Round, a BA Hons Product and Furniture Design graduate, has designed ground-breaking safety features for ambulance trolleys transferring neonates or newborn babies to hospital.
Photo of BCU graduate and Design Engineer at Evac+Chair International Alex Round

Alex, who achieved a first-class degree, was recruited to work on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with EVAC+Chair International on a project that aimed to find a way to “reduce the g-Forces experienced by a neonate in emergency ambulance transportation caused by excessive acceleration and deceleration”.

For this project, Alex designed, developed and tested the Impact Reduction Interface System (IRIS), and then presented his paper: “The Development of an Impact Reduction Interface System” at the European Society of Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care (ESPNIC 2019) conference in Salzburg, Austria, in June.

Alex said: “My knowledge of engineering has expanded several fold as a direct result of this KTP. I have also learned many skills, including how to manage a project in a small or medium-sized company (SME).”

UK Neonatal Transport Group statistics show that there are around 16,000 transfers of premature and sick babies each year. These transfers are a stressful process that can contribute to long-term health complications for the baby as a consequence of excessive movements during acceleration and deceleration of the ambulance or in the event of a crash of up to 40MPH.

Neonatal transfers are planned, lower speed journeys, but are still subject to the risks and dangers inherent to the UK road network, which get busier year on year.

Alex is now a full time Design Engineer at Evac+Chair International, developing further safety improvements to the company’s products.

Programme Director for MA Design and Visualisation Dr Panch Suntharalingam said: “The engineering product knowledge and practical skills that Alex learnt during his three years studying on Product and Furniture Design contained the essential knowledge and skills required for the KTP project to succeed.”

Managing Director EVAC+Chair International Ges Wallace said: “The Collaboration with BCU in this KTP was essential for the design and development of an Impact Resistant Interface Device (IRIS). This will make Evac+Chair International a supplier of choice in the neonatal ambulance transfer market. We were delighted with the collaboration of BCU with Evac+Chair International giving the company access to the latest skills, knowledge and techniques in engineering product development using computer technology.”

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