Diagnosing and treating a critically ill or injured patient as early as possible can mean the difference between life and death. A new communications system between a moving ambulance and its hospital base allows the simultaneous transmission of bandwidth-hungry video and ultra-sonic images, telephone communications and patient data, all at the same time.
Medical teams can therefore gather vital and detailed information about the patient’s condition and advise the ambulance team on patient treatment as they rush towards the hospital.
The ambulances transmit and receive high-quality data over wimax, a microwave access technology that can deliver data at up to 75 megabits per second over a range of 70km between fixed points (802.16.d), or its mobile version can provide 15mb/s over a four-kilometre radius (802.16.e).
“If you are transmitting data in high quality, it is very important that you don’t lose any bit of information,” says Enrico Angori, a leading researcher on the WEIRD project. WiMAX is the cheapest channel to use and the channel that can deliver the best quality of service.”
WiMAX is not new, but the research team on the EU-funded WEIRD project extended the resilience and flexibility of the WiMAX technology and created a user-friendly package that can easily be used in ambulances by non-computer specialists.
Practical and usable solutions
“The main part of our work is to make it easy for end-users to make use of the benefits of new technologies like WiMAX,” explains Giuseppe Martufi, another member of the WEIRD research team.
The team achieve this by developing software that hides the complexity of the configuration of the end-to-end communication channel, whatever the different equipment or different versions of WiMAX used. It means that the paramedic onboard the ambulance can quickly and easily establish an end-to-end communication path without specialist training, allowing them to concentrate on what they do best – saving lives.
Bandwidth can be reserved for the ambulance’s critical communications using a protocol called DIAMETER that identifies data traffic and prioritises it, ensuring communications are not blocked by low-priority data traffic, such as emails.
Seamless end-to-end connections
One of the most important features of the ambulance communications system is its ability to create end-to-end links between two points by seamlessly integrating the WiMAX signal with the other wireless communication technologies encountered, such as mobile telephony.
The WEIRD researchers developed software that takes advantage of the features of ‘next-generation networks’. NGNs layer information, decoupling the applications from the underlying transport stratum. Whatever the underlying network, the ambulance’s signals will be passed seamlessly, end to end.
A few years ago, developers had envisaged global WiMAX networks replacing our present communications infrastructures. Increasingly, WiMAX is being viewed as a complementary technology to existing wireless communication access channels.
So, the successful seamless integration of WiMAX with ‘media-independent handover’ is an important step forward.
Not all applications are designed to run on NGNs. For these, the research team built a series of adaptors – known as WEIRD agents or WEIRD application programming interfaces. WEIRD agents allow non-NGN applications to take advantage of the enhanced quality of service and seamless mobility features offered by the ambulance communications system.
WEIRD received funding from the EU's Sixth Framework Programme for research.
This is one of a series of three articles on the WEIRD project. See also 'Spotting tomorrow's forest fires' and 'Monitoring agains another Pompeii'.
Christian Nielsen | alfa
The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today
27.04.2017 | Technische Universität Ilmenau
Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences