Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Hoverbeds – Floating on a cushion of air

Recently I was reading an article about the women in the photo above. They are Hindu women, risking death to attend a rally for International Women's Day in Bangladesh. They were there because they are acid burn victims.

You see, in Bangladesh there is a practice of throwing acid onto the faces and bodies of young women. Generally this is done by their jilted lovers, although some fathers have done it to deter male suitors. Last year there were 485 such events. It's so common that there is now a Bangladesh Acid Survivor Foundation. Is it any wonder so many women think most men are pigs!?!

Anyway, the article got me into thinking of how burn victims are treated by doctors and that led me to find out about the Hoverbed…

A burn is one of the worst injuries that can be inflicted upon the human body. Both heat and chemical burns are painful and highly destructive. Burns are also hard for doctors to treat, they know the how to and the whys of treating burns, the problem is that the treatment can be just as painful as the burn itself.

One of the most unusual applications of hover technology is the HoverBed, which is used to support badly burned hospital patients on a cushion of air. It was designed by a British biomechanical engineer, Dr. John T. Scales, and a team of engineers, who thought it would be a good idea to turn the hovercraft upside down and blow air upward so that a patient could be supported on air.

Until new skin begins to form on his raw flesh, a severely burned patient can suffer agonies from the contact of his bed under the pressure of his own bodies weight. If he could be floated on air, his new skin could form without being rubbed.

After many experiments a bed was designed to support a patient indefinitely and at the same time blow a stream of warm sterile air upward through openings along the length of the bed. Trials proved this was a particularly effective way to treat patients who had been badly burned by either heat or chemicals.

There are some weird and wild things out there and hovercraft were thought to be just that until people were able to workout all the kinks and make them functional for both military and comericial use. Now we find that with the HoverBed, there is a really great and practical Medical use for hover technology! And that faithful readers is why I invite you to keep an open mind about all things and why I invite you to keep walking this big weird world of ours!

I’m Average Joe


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