A new material from Tecnalia Research & Innovation Center that can go from limp to hard will be used in a novel new immobiliser for accident victims. The material, called Varstiff, is normally pretty flexible, but when a vacuum is applied it hardens and maintains shape.
It’s spread inside a vacuum sealed enclosure and can be applied to the body as needed. Once in position, a pump is used to pull the air out and solidify the result.
From the announcement:
To support its launch onto the market a new technology-based enterprise will be set up to operate in the healthcare sector initially, but with plans to expand its activity to other sectors like the automotive or leisure sectors.
The new material designed by Tecnalia can be adapted to any part of the body and in any situation; it can be fitted in its soft, malleable state so that afterwards when vacuum is applied to it, it becomes as stiff as plaster of Paris. This makes it possible in the event of an accident to immediately immobilise parts of the victim’s body that are difficult to access without moving it, like the neck, back or thorax.
(hat tip: Gizmodo)