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Latvia's 'Defense Makeathon' produces quick-application tourniquet

Take note – story published 1 year ago

In the hackathon of the defense industry "Defence Makeathon Riga 2022", a special type of tourniquet has been produced that can be put on very quickly by a soldier in a crisis. Other innovative ideas are also developed, which will be produced in future, Latvian Television reported on January 9.

The defense industry hackathon has already happened several times in Latvia. The last one took place December 9–11, 2022. In this way, the Ministry of Defense and the National Armed Forces, in cooperation with the Science and Innovation Center of Riga Technical University, constitute an environment for promoting new defense technologies and solutions.

State Secretary of Defense Jānis Garisons said: “Makeathon is the first step in promoting both students and merchants, and cadets of the National Defence Academy to think about shortages and ways to prevent them in the Armed Forces.”

Teams consisting of students, scientists and persons associated with the military sphere are given 48 hours to develop innovative ideas. 

Uldis Bērziņš, head of the Riga Technical University (RTU) Biochip Scientific Laboratory, together with his team, developed a way for soldiers to stop bleeding on the battlefield as soon as possible.

“War is very cruel. Legs, arms are ripped off. People die not so much from bullets as from bleeding. The bleeding is not stopped in time,” Bērziņš said.

In case of severe limb injuries, a person can bleed out in 30 seconds. Therefore, it is important to apply a tourniquet as soon as possible, thereby squeezing the arteries and saving a life. If there is only one hand available, it will be difficult to put a tourniquet on. Wit this in mind, the Americans have even created uniforms with embedded tourniquets.

Bērziņš said: “It actually consists of eight tourniquets. Forearm, upper arm. These tourniquets are unremovable. Sewn in. That arrangement is good, but somehow it has not become popular.”

A new solution has been created in Latvia. No need to buy new uniforms: tunnels are stitched into existing clothing. A tourniquet is introduced into these tunnels as one goes into the battle zone.

National Guard instructor, Daina Kleinberga, said: “When needed, if a soldier gets an injury, he opens it. [..]  If the soldier has practiced properly, he must be able to fit the torniquet in 30 seconds. With this, we are reducing our time. This is ten seconds.”

This would be a relatively cheap and simple system to introduce.

Bērziņš pointed out: “In principle, you can incorporate it into any pair of pants [or shirt]. It is desirable that the tourniquet be located in the upper third. Closer to the groin, closer to the shoulder.”

If the trials are successful, soldiers' clothing will likely be fitted with such tourniquets in the future.

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