BAE Systems apprentices improve the lives of injured soldiers

A product designed and built by BAE Systems Electronic Systems apprentices in Rochester, Kent, is being tested in a British hospital to prove its ability to boost the morale of wounded service personnel in rehabilitation.

The Inviso apprentice team from BAE Systems The Inviso visual aid device is being trialled in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. It uses a combination of three high-resolution cameras and can be used with a “tap box” for those who have minimal movement, or with speech activation. The combination of cameras supplies three views - one of the ward, one of the patient and a flexible camera for visitors.

By allowing patients full visual control, Inviso gives them their independence back, boosting morale.

“The thought that our design is being used to improve the lives of injured personnel fills me with a great sense of pride and personal achievement,” says Steve Costin, Inviso team leader.

Winning the BAE Systems Apprentice Innovation Challenge

The apprentice team comprising of Steve, Usman Iqbal, Simon Beck and Emily Cheeseman won BAE Systems Apprentice Innovation Challenge, a biannual competition run in conjunction with a partner charity. In the 2011 challenge, apprentices were tasked with creating a device that aided rehabilitation through bed-based exercises and with building a device for those who were restricted to beds without being able to move their heads.

“The device solves real challenges faced by injured soldiers during their first stages of recovery and rehabilitation, with the potential to enhance the world-class medical care patients currently receive,” says Mike Hammond, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity.

After winning the Apprentice Innovation Challenge, the Rochester apprentices were determined to take their device further.

“Since last November, we have been working in conjunction with the hospital to develop the software and improve its functionality,” Steve says. “We have received fantastic support - even funding - from Rochester leadership to develop and help improve patients’ quality of life.”

The team has been overwhelmed by the amount of interest shown in the device and the apprentices plan to develop a production model of Inviso in the future.