Creating Robotic Trauma Care

The University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine https://www.upmc.com and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) https://www.cmu.edu each have been awarded four year contracts totaling more than $7.2 million from DOD https://www.defense.gov. The plan is to create an autonomous trauma care system to fit in a backpack to treat and stabilize soldiers injured in remote locations.

The goal for the “TRAuma Care in a Rucksack” (TRACIR) system is to develop artificial intelligence (AI) technologies enabling medical interventions to extend the “golden hour” for treating combat casualties to ensure the injured person’s survival for medical evacuations.

A team of Pitt researchers and clinicians from emergency medicine, surgery, critical care, and pulmonary fields will provide real world trauma data and medical algorithms and that CMU roboticists and computer scientists will use to create a hard and soft robotic suit.

The injured person will be placed in the suit and monitors embedded in the suit will assess the injury. Then AI algorithms will guide the appropriate critical care interventions and robotically apply stabilizing treatments such as intravenous fluids and medications.

Ron Poropatich M.D retired Army Colonel, Director of Pitt’s Center for Military Medicine Research, and Professor in UPMC’s Division of Pulmonary Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, is overall Principal Investigator on the $3.71 million UPMC Contract. Artur Dubrawski, PhD Research Professor at CMU’s Robotics Institute is the Principal Investigator on the $3.5 million CMU contract.

According to Dr. Dubrawski, “The final system is seen as being an autonomous or nearly autonomous system. The system will contain a backpack with an inflatable vest or perhaps a collapsed stretcher that would then open up, inflate, position itself, and then begin stabilizing the patient.

Dr. Poropatich suggests, “Although the immediate goal is to treat soldiers on the battlefield, there are numerous potential for civilian applications. TRACIR could be deployed by drone to hikers or mountain climbers injured in the wilderness, used by people in submarines or boats, give trauma care to rural health clinics, or be used by aid workers responding to natural disasters, and perhaps could even by used by astronauts on Mars”.

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