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IPFS News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

DoD awards contracts to create robotic suit that autonomously delivers trauma care

•, David Szondy

Called TRAuma Care In a Rucksack (TRACIR), it will use advanced sensors, robotics, and artificial intelligence to autonomously treat battlefield casualties almost immediately.

In trauma surgery there is what is called the "golden hour." More a metaphor than a strict medical term, it encapsulates the idea that stabilization and treatment of a trauma patient in the brief window after receiving an injury can mean the difference between life and death. So important is this concept, that it has informed decades of military and civilian doctrines about treating casualties.

According to CMU, the purpose of TRACIR is to reduce the time a patient receives treatment down to almost the point they are placed on a stretcher. Drawing on the expertise of a multidisciplinary team of Pitt researchers and clinicians from emergency medicine, surgery, critical care and pulmonary fields combined with that of roboticists and computer scientists at CMU, the goal is to build a "hard and soft robotic suit" into which a patient can be inserted.

Inside this "suit" is an array of sensors through which a series of computer algorithms can assess the condition of the patient and robotically provide the appropriate treatments, including medicines and intravenous fluids. Through the use of machine learning, TRACIR can help to resuscitate, stabilize, and treat soldiers as they are evacuated from the battlefield to proper medical facilities, or even in the field if evacuation isn't possible or a medic isn't available.