Four 13-year-old pupils from The King's School, Tynemouth, believe they have found a way of combating deep vein thrombosis (DVT), more commonly known as 'economy class syndrome', on long-haul flights.
The pupils have developed the Vibraflow electronic device that prevents DVT by stimulating the calf muscles. The battery-powered unit is worn on the leg and operates even when the passenger is asleep.
The project is one of 17 that reached the final stages of the Young Engineers National Club Awards.
The King's School team worked on the project in their lunchtimes for six months, producing an initial prototype built around a shin pad to show that the idea could work. The design is based around an off-centred weight connected to a small motor. The pupils used a 555 timer on a breadboard to develop a control circuit to provide vibration at irregular intervals. PCB Wizard was used to design a circuit that was made using PCB Workstation. The prototypes cost only £15 to produce.
The team is hoping that airlines will take up their idea, possibly lending the units to their passengers. They are also looking to develop a wireless link between the control unit and the vibrator.
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