Two Technion mechanical engineering students in Haifa literally rolled out their senior project last week – the unicycle Adventure Stretcher – designed to help emergency medical services and search-and-rescue teams evacuate victims from off-road areas inaccessible to vehicles and helicopters.
Built in collaboration with Segal Bikes and Israeli voluntary EMS network United Hatzalah, the 15-kilogram, foldable Adventure Stretcher enables two people to transports a patient over long distances by centering most of the weight on a large bicycle wheel.
The prototype was created by students Michael Adda, originally from France, and Ro’ee Etyanash, originally from Ethiopia, in consultation with Miki Fischler and Dan Shafry, members of United Hatzalah and the Israel Search-and-Rescue Unit under the auspices of the Israelife Foundation.
Shafry, an engineer at Rafael Industries, got the idea for the unicycle stretcher from a one-wheeled wheelchair that Israeli NGO Etgarim uses for taking physically challenged people hiking in difficult terrain.
Shafry tells ISRAEL21c that the initial working prototype will be tweaked over the next year to be even lighter, easier to fold and unfold, and able to be conveyed by a single rescuer.
Because most of the crashes on hard-to-reach trails in Israel involve cycling, the stretcher could in theory be attached to a wheel from the cyclist’s bike, making the stretcher lighter and quicker to deploy. However, given the rough terrain where the product would be used, Segal Bikes is working toward supplying a special puncture-proof wheel.
Adda and his design partner kept the stretcher to a narrow 60 centimeters so that it won’t get caught on trees and brush.
Future iterations might be made of ultra-lightweight magnesium, which is nevertheless hard enough to act as a backboard for victims with back and neck injuries. Even the current aluminum model can hold up to 300 kilos.
“I hope by next year we’ll have a fully functioning product,” says Fischler.