Frank: An Intelligent Manikin To Limit Cervical Trauma

The team of research professor Patrick Boissy has developed an intelligent manikin to train care providers giving assistance to individuals with suspected spinal trauma.

"What really makes Frank the manikin special is that his neck is instrumented with sensors that provide highly accurate measurements of his head movements" explains Patrick-Boissy, professor and researcher at the Research Centre on Aging (CdRV) of the CIUSSS de l’Estrie - CHUS and to the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMSS) at the Université de Sherbrooke.

Recording the Neck's Degrees of Tilt

With the help of engineers Mathieu Hamel (CdRV) and Karina Lebel, Patrick Boissy developed a second-generation prototype. Frank weighs 82 kg and is 175 cm tall. His articulated skeleton is encapsulated in silicone to replicate realistic skin texture, masses, and the inertia of an unconscious body. The embedded sensors send the data to an external source (such as a computer or telephone), making it possible to collect precise data on the neck's degrees of tilt or rotation by comparing them with reference positions for emergency interventions.

Safer Patient Transfers

Transferring a patient from an accident site to the operating table is a delicate procedure in which any missteps can worsen the injury. Yet the only feedback that care providers receive during their training comes from experts observing them, which, according to Patrick Boissy, is both variable and subjective.

"An instrumented manikin like Frank allows us to hone our gestures to avoid any movement that could aggravate an injury. This kind of expertise cannot be developed by practising on a manikin without cervical mobility" says François Cabana, orthopedic surgeon and research professor at the CRCHUS du CIUSSS de l’Estrie - CHUS and the FMSS.

Proven in Testing by Care Providers

Frank has been tested by several categories of primary-care providers: firefighters with the Sherbrooke fire department, paramedics with Coopérative de Travailleurs d'Ambulance de l'Estrie, and at the trials for the last Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada in Montréal.

Frank has a patent pending. Moreover, he is already one of the innovations offered by TransferTech Sherbrooke, which is mandated to support the marketing of inventions resulting from research at the Université de Sherbrooke.

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