EIDER - Autonomous paramedic transporter

Updated: Nov 4, 2018



About the project:


This project began as a University project from my first year. I have since taken it and applied newly developed CGI skill-set to bring the design to life.


The project is based around the concept of an autonomously piloted flying vehicle. It could fly to the scene of an emergency, carrying a paramedic, and act as a mobile ambulance.


I worked with a fantastic group to design the functions, interior and system design. We then built a full scale interior to streamline the preparation of the paramedic mid flight. We interviewed an air ambulance crew to gain key insights to the design.


After the success of winning the DESIRE award, and with a new found love of CGI, I embarked to further the physical exterior of the pod, as this was outside of the scope of the original project.


The Redesign | October 2018


I wanted to challenge myself with better and better models and renders to improve my CGI capabilities. In EIDER I found the perfect challenge! The original design featured: different operational environments, interesting geometries and animation possibilities. I complete a course into hard surface modelling and used these skills to build the perfect model in Blender.


When I returned to the project, I first looked at a redesign of the shape...




The geometry of the model is comprised of large, low resolution, pieces and then small, hi resolution details. I used a Boolean workflow to add real depth and cut parts away for panelling and the details themselves. This is a fantastic workflow, being both non destructive and faster than a traditional sub-d workflow.


With clean geometries the model of the exterior was finished. It is a heavy file, however, with 2.5 million vertices. The process is a little slow, but with parenting, I could animate all the moving parts, including the flexible tubing.


Finally the rendering could take place. I learnt how to pull focus, animate paths and add realistic camera noise to the filming. I started with a large number of still renders.



Then I started adding animations and began producing a video.


Coming soon!



Original project | January - June 2017



Brief (in brief)


Design an autonomous public transport vehicle. Build the interior of size 1m by 2m by 2m.


With such a simple brief we had the flexibility to go in many different directions. We looked that the applications in the field of accident and emergency response. This fitted with the wider scope of the brief and we felt that there could be many applications for autonomous transport in this field.


Methods


We began the design process with a huge amount of online research. We found a vast amount of information on typical use, case studies of good and bad designs and equipment lists for emergency vehicles of all kinds.


We investigated the reasons behind slow response rates in all kinds of environments, and found out about the gruelling day to day activities of a first-responder.


We conducted an interview with and air ambulance crew to develop a good idea of the activities and thought processes of the crew in the air.


Once we had gather the information we needed, we started to design and build the interior of the pod.


One member of the team tests chair positioning and reach...

Initially prototyping with cardboard, the design could be tested over and over again. We tested the interior with a diverse group of users in the correct age range. Then each section was finalised and exchanged for wooden parts.


Solution


The project had many aspects due to the complexity of the concept. By the end of the project we developed:

An app

A full scale wooden model

An implementation plan

A contract book


This storyboard helped us explain our concepts to potential users.

"Our team has examined and identified issues with current emergency response systems. We chose to focus on India as a case study for background research. It has a developing emergency medical infrastructure, but lacks an effective healthcare system with widespread accessibility and efficiency. EIDER is our concept solution to these problems, reducing response times of emergency services, particularly in rural and developing areas. It will facilitate complex medical treatment on scene, as well as reduce complexity of peripheral tasks, such as control of the pod, to give the paramedic preparation time and minimise stress when travelling to the scene of an incident.


To achieve this, the user needs and associated vehicle features have been specified, which were then used to generate concept sketches and designs for the pod. A detailed schedule of work for the development and manufacture of the interior and User Interface has been produced, as well as a quality plan to ensure the consideration of user feedback in improving our design and build."


Extract from the executive summary of our report



Our final design is a compact aerial vehicle that acts almost as a flying field hospital. It treats minor injuries on the spot and stabilises more major injuries until emergency road vehicles can arrive. We envision that, despite the high cost, these pod would have work extremely well at specific tasks more economically than an air ambulance crew.


EIDER will be particularly useful in disaster relief such as earthquakes. They can be shipped to locations easily and could even fly across a country with a small number of charges. During disasters, the pod would set up as a mobile field hospital, reducing the strain on the areas hospitals.


Throughout the project, the app became more streamline.

The project taught me a huge amount. We worked with professionals and users to test and critically evaluate designs and ideas. We developed a simple and easy to use app that guided the user through the process and provided all the information needed. I expanded my physical prototyping skills with the huge life scale model. I also befitted particularly from the experience of working with people to run physical touch tests on the design.


*Update*

The design won the DESIRE award!

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/design-engineering/study/meng/desire/

"11 teams presented to an impressive panel of experts, in addition to the teaching team, including: Dr Marcus Abbott, Bentley Motors, Ben Boucher-West, Bosch Mobility Solutions, Philippe Hohlfeld, JLR, Abby Miller, Transport Systems Catapault and John Routledge, JLR. The External Examiner Professor Alison McKay also observed the presentations.

The panel were universally in praise of the whole body of work, but there was also strong agreement on the innovation, depth of work and quality of human centred design within the Eider team’s presentation, full size mock up and detailed UI designs."


Alfie Thompson | Design Engineer | London

©2019 by Alfie Thompson.