Redbrick Social Media Secretary, Ella Kipling, explains how life-saving invention REACT won this year’s U.K James Dyson Award

Last updated
Images by Nobuyuki Hayashi

22 year-old Joseph Bentley has received the UK James Dyson Award for a device used to stem bleeding from knife wounds. 

The REACT device, which stands for Rapid Emergency Actuating Tamponade, was designed to help police stop the bleeding from knife wounds whilst waiting for medical assistance to arrive.

Help police stop the bleeding from knife wounds

Bentley explained that two of his friends were ‘victims of knife-related incidents,’ so the issue is personal to him. He told the BBC: ‘Seeing the profound effect that it had on my friends and their families urged me to try and create a solution that could help others in the future.’

The £2,000 prize will be used to help develop Bentley’s innovation further, and whilst medical device testing ‘takes a long time,’ he hopes to see the device ‘in the hands of first responders saving lives.’

Bentley studied Product Design at Loughborough University, and describes himself as having ‘a passion for great human centred design.’ Following the news of his win, Bentley said:

‘I have really struggled to put into words how honoured I am to receive this award for REACT. As a young designer, I have spent the better half of my life looking up to the incredible projects that have been recognised by the Dyson Award.’

Dyson explains that ‘in the year ending March 2019, 259 people were killed by sharp instruments in the UK’, and ‘in most cases, the recorded cause of death is blood loss’. In London, it takes ten minutes for an ambulance to arrive, but it can only take five minutes to bleed to death. 

259 people were killed by sharp instruments in the UK

Bentley described his product as a ‘game- changer for first responders’ and estimated that it could save ‘hundreds of lives a year.’

The device is made up of two parts: A ‘medical-grade silicone sleeve.. the ‘tamponade,’ and a handheld device called an ‘actuator’’. The tamponade is inserted into the wound and the actuator is then connected and switched on to inflate and fill the wound. REACT can only be used in cases where the wound is open. The device works on the same principle as ‘wound packing,’ but is quicker and simpler. 

The device works on the same principle as ‘wound packing,’ but is quicker and simpler

Wound packing’ is a method used by medics to push gauze into a wound and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Bentley explained that when surgeons try to remove gauze from a wound, it often ‘rips out the blood clot with it, causing the bleeding to resume.’ REACT, however, works like the balloon on the inside of the papier mache, and ‘can be removed safely leaving the clot intact.’

Shehan Hettiaratchy, a London trauma surgeon, said that the device was a ‘great concept,’ and thinks that ‘it would be interesting to see how it is designed to deal with a whole range of wounds, especially reaching areas where you can’t get a tourniquet on.’

Liked reading this tech article? Why not check out more from Sci and Tech?

Mission Focus: Asia-Pacific Airlines Strive to Uphold Environmental Plans

San Diego Apes given COVID-19 Vaccine

The Climate App: ‘A Catalyst for Action’.