Students from Michigan Technological University designed and developed a mattress that facilitates more effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The new mattress addresses the problem of administering CPR on a standard hospital mattress, where most of the force of the resuscitation is lost to the mattress and doesn’t reach the patient. 

The team of students designed a push button system to suck the air out of the foam in a standard hospital mattress to make it firm. In ten seconds, some tubing, a small motor, and a vacuum pump remove the air.

According to Michigan Tech, with a standard hospital mattress, only 43% of the CPR load is applied to the heart; with a crash board that number jumps to 52%; and with the students’ setup, 81% of the CPR load reaches the heart.

Another team of Michigan Tech students founded a company and is working to get the mattress into hospitals, particularly in emergency rooms. According to the school, the students expect to have a patent by September 2009 and they are talking with a number of companies that have experience bringing medical products to market.