AmbuLink: Communication System for Doctors and Ambulance Crews

Rice University engineering students are helping a Houston hospital develop a more reliable way to keep in contact with inbound ambulance crews. The AmbuLink team worked closely with Texas Children's Hospital over the past year on a system that bridges gaps between cellular service signals and streams audio and, when necessary, video, from the ambulance to doctors and dispatchers. The students have assembled laptops, cellular modems, a camera, and wireless headsets into a suite that allows emergency medical technicians to keep their hands free while communicating important information back to base. The students' primary challenge was to write, refine, and test the software that allows all the pieces to work seamlessly and synchronize signals from three cellular providers. They see AmbuLink as a multiyear project that will ultimately feed data about a patient's vital signs directly into a hospital's health database, where doctors can access all the essentials before the patient arrives.