My name is Kieran Normoyle and my product is Hydros. Hydros is a three piece personal flotation device that mitigates the effects of cold water shock, sea spray, hypothermia, and secondary drowning.
As I am a qualified lifeguard and a medic with the army reserve, I feel there is a fatal flaw in life jacket design.
While lifejackets keep users afloat, they fail to protect against hypothermia and other health risks.
I worked with the Irish Navy, Search and Rescue, Air Sea Coast Guard, RNLI, and Mullion Life Jacket Manufactures in order to determine the best course of action to improve lifejacket design.
I separated my findings into seven different areas. Usability became the most important area as a lifejacket user would hopefully never be in a situation in which a lifejacket is used.
My final design comprised of a Thermo T-shirt which has a manually activated gel heat pack located over the Heart, Carotid Arteries, Jugular Veins, and Cranium, which reduces core heat loss. The gel heat pack heats up to 60°celcus and maintains its heat for up to 8 hours depending on the environment.
The heart and brain are most sensitive to cold, and the electrical activity in these organs slows in response to cold. By locally heating the heart and blood flowing to and from the brain, the effects of hypothermia can be mitigated and therefore prolonging the survival rates of the user.
The Wet Jacket component uses the wet suit effect to prevent core heat loss through conduction and convection, reducing heat lost and allowing the user to layer up and down depending on the environment in which they are operating.
It also promotes the user to take up the Heat Escape Lessening Position and would be available in many styles and colours to appeal to users.
The Life Vest is an easy to use zip on vest that comprises of an interchangeable 150/275 newton bladder with an offset design which can turn facedown users upright in water. The spray hood, which protects users from sea spray and prevents secondary drowning, promotes comfort and mental wellbeing and, when not in use, protects the bladder.
The clear visor also allows the user to inspect the 3 in 1 trigger mechanism specifically designed for this lifejacket, which allows users to change between a manual, automatic and hydrostatic trigger setting on the bladder.