Our Inspiration


 

It started by looking to the future and imagining what design and health could be. To better understand the possibilities I looked to my own lived experience of growing up in the Pacific Northwest and my time fighting fires. I loved the fast pace excitement to be the first to respond to an emergency and the adrenaline rush that pushed your tactical problem solving skills into high gear. But most of all, the team bonding and heroic feeling that we were helping save people’s lives.

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Years later, I was attending a design school and living in north Los Angeles and didn’t have easy access to the mountains, so I looked to the city. I began having conversations with first responders that eventually turned into research. I interviewed city fire departments and emergency medical services within Glendale, Burbank, and Pasadena California.

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As I interviewed first responders of different levels, from Emergency Medical Technicians, to Paramedics, to FireMedics I noticed a common problem first responders struggle with. Almost all had experienced minor to the more severe back pain or discomfort. Some were in bed recovering from injury so I called to their home and interviewed them while they rehabbed or rested.

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Of course, it makes a lot of sense! They put so much work on their lower backs by constantly lifting and transferring patients, carrying equipment up and down stairs, sitting in the cabin uncomfortably, and hunched over when standing in the back of the ambulance.

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I looked into why they weren’t wearing any products to reduce back fatigue, pain, or injury. I found that there isn’t much out in the market to help people prevent back injuries! Most products are designed for recovery and restrict movement, impact protection, or are basic posture reminders.

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There must be more we can do. I first thought of creating a vertical spring like device to assist with lifting and then figured…why not go further and redesign the entire paramedic uniform?

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The current uniforms don't provide back support, and from my experience working with outdoor sportswear brands in Portland, OR. I’ve seen better innovative materials that can be used. Clearly we can do better.

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I set out to design a smarter, protective uniform with an interchangeable back support system.

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The design and prototype received several international awards and I was invited to present in Italy for a 2012 Wellness and Technology conference.

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At the conference in Milan Italy, the response was tremendous and I was encouraged to continue the effort to one day bring the innovation to market.

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Around this same time I moved to Seattle to work for Philips Design in the HealthTech Innovation Center. Over the years I would receive emails from first responders all over the world asking to purchase the product

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At the end of 2015 I was granted a utility patent for this interchangeable back support system integrating into apparel and soft goods.

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In 2016, I received a call from OnTime Ambulance Medical Transport out of New Jersey, they were interested in purchasing several products; this was exciting, challenging, and stated to the urgency of the need

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I saw the need at a global scale and took action. It is an exciting time for innovation, to solve this global problem and at DorsumTech we are up for the challenge.

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